Resources for Healing Racial Trauma

Conley Counseling and Wellness Services wants to express our grief, sorrow and compassion to all those who have been, and continue to be, impacted by the race-based violence occurring nationally. While these tragedies can be traumatizing for all of us, we recognize that they may be especially painful and injurious to members of our community who identify as Black or African-American. These traumatic murders, along with countless others, represent a long history of racist violence in our nation.

In the aftermath of experiencing or witnessing trauma, it is normal to experience a range of emotions, such as shock, fear, sadness, anger, helplessness and/or guilt. Our office is committed to affirming and providing support for all of our students who have been directly or vicariously impacted by experiences of racism, discrimination, prejudice, bigotry, stereotyping and/or violence. We encourage you to contact Counseling and Wellness Services if you (or another Cortland student you know) would like support with processing and coping with recent and/or past experiences of trauma or any other mental or emotional health concerns. 

In addition to providing clinical services, we are continuing to collaborate with campus constituents to develop and promote future virtual programs and resources for students. The work of justice belongs to all of us, particularly to those of us who benefit from white privilege and race-based oppression. Some relevant resources are noted below.

Some Resources for Healing

  • Racial trauma exacts a psychological and physiological toll on people of color, and those involved in the Movement for Black Lives are especially vulnerable to hourly personal, emotional, and physical racist attacks. Guided meditation is one way to assist in calming a heightened state of distress, affirming one’s value and humanity, and re-centering with love for Black people. Dr. Nicole has guided meditations for people of color as well as for allies on her website along with her blog and other health related resources.
  • The Association of Black Psychologists, Inc. has started Sawubona Healing Circles  to provide a culturally-grounded crisis response program to interrupt the stress and trauma response. The Sawubona Healing Circles are virtual safe spaces for individuals of African ancestry that draw upon culturally-grounded healing strategies in coping with anti-Black racial trauma/stress and community violence. These circles are not therapy. They are supportive and culturally-affirming spaces. 
  • The American Psychological Association (APA) provides numerous links to resources and research on the impact of racism on mental health, and information on how to care for your own mental health. “We Must Unmute” discusses how anger and outrage are appropriate responses to injustice. The way we process and channel our pain can help protect us from long-term mental health effects and increase our effectiveness as advocates and activists.
  • Black Mental Health Alliance (BMHA) works to develop, promote and sponsor trusted culturally-relevant educational forums, trainings and referral services that support the health and well-being of Black people and other vulnerable communities. The BMHA provides information and resources on mental health, and a “Find a Therapist” locator to connect with a culturally competent mental health professional.
  • To help start conversations about mental health, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities have launched Brother, You're on My Mind: Changing the National Dialogue Regarding Mental Health Among African American Men.
  • Therapy for Black Girls provides an online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls. It offers listing of mental health professionals across the country who provide high quality, culturally competent services to Black women and girls, an informational podcast and an online support community.
  • Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis talks about the process of moving toward being Anti-Racistand how to determine whether your therapist or others in your life are prepared to accompany you on that journey.  

General Resources

  • To become better informedto get involved and take action,   visit the Black Lives Matter website.
  • Working with facilitators and a well-designed curriculum, drawn from a variety of sources, participants engage in interactive experiences to examine the realities of institutionalized racism, internalized racism, white privilege and the myths of immigration in order to understand how they feed ongoing racial injustice.
  • The NAACP has information on how to get involved through We Are Done Dying campaign. As the world faces unprecedented times and new realities during this global pandemic, and incidents of hate and domestic terrorism are perpetuated leading to routine brutalization of African-Americans, the health and safety of people of color are at an unparalleled risk.
  • How to Be an Antiracist is from Dr. Brene Brown's “Unlocking Us” podcast with Dr. Ibrahim X. Kendi. Dr. Kendi provides an historical context for racism in America as well as ideas on how to combat racist ideas and move toward anti-racism, while sharing his own vulnerability and journey on becoming anti-racist.
  • The Steve Fund works with colleges and universities, nonprofits, researchers, mental health experts, families and young people to promote programs and strategies that build understanding and assistance for the mental and emotional health of the nation’s young people of color.

Resources for Allies