5 Top Podcast Recommendations for Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
Due to the hard work of author and activist Bebe Moore Campbell, the U.S. House of Representatives first recognized July as National Minority Mental Health Month in 2008.
With the lived experience of supporting her daughter’s navigation of mental health services, Campbell witnessed the systemic gaps in mental health access and drew attention to the unique mental health needs of Black folks in the United States, and by extension Black, Indigenous and people of color, too.
Especially during a global pandemic and with the growing recognition of the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., it remains crucial to prioritize mental well-being for communities of color.
Tune your ears to these five podcasts to promote self-care this Minority Mental Health Month:
With weekly episodes, Thema Bryant-Davis frames her approach to mental well-being as the spiritual and psychological journey of coming home to oneself. A minister, psychologist and artist, Bryant-Davis normalizes the work of mental health for both professionals like herself as well as those who seek treatment.
In each episode, she unpacks challenges, such as trauma, abandonment issues, shame, grief, rejection, toxic workplaces and the like. Despite her extensive educational credentials, she eschews jargon, instead using easily relatable language and situations to share her message.
As an ordained minister, her approach incorporates faith-based coping skills that may resonate with familiarity for some — given how BIPOC individuals may lean on their faith to survive white supremacy. Her insightful guests have included musician Justin Michael Williams, who provided meditation strategies, and the Rev. Rosalynn Brookins, who reflected on her journey toward recovery from addiction issues.
On this podcast, a duo of Indigenous hosts delve into their relationships with the land, and each other, which regularly intersects with mental health. Matika Wilbur, a visual storyteller, belongs to the Swinomish and Tulalip people, and Adrienne Keene, a university professor, is a member of the Cherokee Nation. Together, they engage in conversation with a variety of guests to shed light on Indigenous perspectives to promote well-being when colonialist harm continues.
In Episode #3, the hosts invited Amanda Blackhorse, a Dine social worker from the Navajo Nation, and Stephanie Fryberg, a psychology professor of the Tulalip Tribes, to discuss the negative impact of Native sports mascots on mental health in their communities.
In Episode #11, they engage in an emotional discussion with their production team, Brooke, of Blackfeet/Salish ancestry, and Juanita, a Black Hemish womxn of both African and Native American ancestry. They discuss how the white supremacist construct of blood quantum factors into their decision-making processes when establishing families, given how federal and tribal policies determine how they are identified according to the government. Other meaningful topics with significant impact on mental health include the loss of Indigenous languages and decolonization of sex to promote healthy relationships with both human and non-human relations.
As an ongoing conversation about the impact of white supremacy on mental health, this podcast provides valuable psychoeducation from four practicing BIPOC social workers, Josh McNeil, Marvin Toliver, Michael Grinnell and Jesse Wiltey.
The insightful hosts interrogate how they, as social workers, often provide only a Band-Aid solution to the gaping wound that is systemic oppression, which requires macro change in terms of policy. They also reflect on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a historical tool to oppress marginalized communities.
Such meaningful discussions hold immense potential for addressing the shame of BIPOC listeners, who can internalize their failure to thrive in rigged systems as a negative reflection of themselves. The hosts also model self-care strategies to avoid burnout when they catch up on how they are doing and what they have planned. These tips can be especially helpful for BIPOC folks, who may feel societal pressure to “work twice as hard” rather than to prioritize leisure and downtime to manage stress and cope more effectively.
Described as “two brown chicks changing the face of therapy on both sides of the couch,” this podcast is hosted by Eliza Boqiun and Eboni Harris, co-founders of Melanin and Mental Health, to support the unique needs of communities of color for culturally appropriate treatment options. Listeners have a selection of more than 100 shows from these therapists, who regularly interview other BIPOC professionals to deconstruct how to address barriers to treatment and better advocate for underserved individuals.
Boqiun often draws on her experiences, in terms of her Afro-Latinx background, while Harris regularly reflects on how her Black upbringing impacts everyday situations. The hosts cover a variety of topics, including self-care during a revolution, social distancing tips, pressures to be productive during a pandemic, healing with play therapy, racial battle fatigue and boundaries through the holidays. Together, they unpack misconceptions about mental health treatment that may otherwise limit BIPOC folks from reaching out to appropriate supports for therapy services.
With this podcast, listeners get to bask in the brilliance of polyamorous nonbinary femme, Ericka Hart, and monogamous trans man, Ebony Donnley. Hart, a sexuality educator and breast cancer survivor, and Donnley, an audio engineer, writer and performance artist, discuss everything from house plants and astrology for self-care to the lack of ethical polyamory representation on television.
In each episode, the hosts work to dismantle white supremacy and provide sexual education in response to questions from listeners. Through these discussions, they unpack how white supremacy harms BIPOC mental health, and normalize that frustration for the audience.
The Black couple even provides a Gender 101 Teach-In for the audience in Episode #5. It begins with a powerful reading of the names of Black trans women who were recently murdered in the U.S., as they delve into the responsibilities of cisgender individuals to be more accountable to dismantling transphobia in our society. Especially given the stigma associated with any relationship that exists outside of the monogamous nuclear family, and how that can impact mental health negatively, these hosts promote the acceptance and inclusivity that should apply to all relationship types.
By Krystal Kavita Jagoo
Krystal Kavita Jagoo is a social worker, committed to anti-oppressive practice. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post Personal, Social Justice Solutions, and o.School. Her essay, “Inclusive Reproductive Justice,” was published in Volume 2 of the Reproductive Justice Briefing Book: A Primer on Reproductive Justice and Social Change.