Black mental health organization BEAM will honor Black women at summit

What the organization is doing to advocate for mental health

BEAM wants to empower the Black community while simultaneously honoring some of its members. On May 20, the Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective is hosting its third annual Black Healing Remixed Summit, focused this year on the wellness of Black women and girls.

Natalie Patterson, BEAM’s director of training and programs, spoke to rolling out about the summit and mental health in the Black community.

What does BEAM do?

We are a training movement, building and grant making institution. We are committed and dedicated to the healing, wellness and liberation of Black and marginalized communities. It’s our mission to remove the barriers Black people experience around accessing emotional health care through education, training, advocacy and creative arts.

What are some tips for Black people who want to heal in 2023?

The first thing is creating space in your own life to reflect. I think journaling is a really powerful tool. Sitting for five minutes and doing a brain dump to just be like, “What am I even feeling? What’s happening?” Assess and get to know yourself. I think sometimes we’re moving so quickly, that it’s really challenging to know how we’re feeling in the moment.

Another thing I would recommend is the use of the feelings wheel which you can find on our website, It’s a wheel that has all of your feelings you might be experiencing, coming up and getting in the practice of naming them. As Black folks, sometimes we’re really invalidated around how we feel or people are telling us, “Oh, well. Keep that feeling over here.”

What it gives us the opportunity to do is to No. 1, assess [and] affirm how we’re feeling, and also create a little bit of space between our response to things and the choice we might make if we had just a beat to think about [it]. … Then, we have this moment to go, “Hmm. I’m upset. It’s because I’m actually hurt because that was whack. That made me feel invalidated. That made me feel dismissed. Maybe I don’t want to be around people that make me feel that way.” As opposed to having a knee-jerk response to something, and being angry at somebody, or communicating with them in a way that doesn’t really align with who we are, but is just a natural response.

I think those are two fantastic things. We can do it, but also doing meditations, breathing activities or body scans just to check in with ourselves. These are simple things that can create so much impact for us.

What is going on at the summit this weekend?

Black Healing Remixed is our annual summit. It is an opportunity to bring our communities together. Sometimes we’re talking about Black masculinity, sometimes we’re talking about different things, so we get split up a bit, but Black Healing Remixed is the opportunity for everybody in our community to come out and celebrate, and switch this narrative from shame to celebration, from stigma to social justice.

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