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According to the Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM), healing is our birthright.

But, Black folks often face challenges when trying to access sustainable healthcare for our emotional and mental needs. Part of BEAM’s approach in addressing these complications includes acknowledging our roots.

This includes issues like misogynoir — the discrimination specific to Black women based on gender and race — economic inequity, disparities within the justice system, intimate partner violence, transphobia, homophobia, racism, and others.

BEAM centers its work around a healing justice framework to address these long-standing issues. These efforts include training, advocacy, and financial support for those doing Black-focused healing justice work.

One example of the latter is the creation of their Black Peer Support and Community Care Grants, formed in partnership with Healthline Media.

According to BEAM, these grant opportunities were created to uplift and provide resources to Black-led peer support and community health projects that center on Black folks living in distress or with mental health conditions.

This funding can be used for general operating support to create or sustain initiatives or programming centered around Black wellness, healing, and social support.

Applications were open to folks within the health and healing spaces, including Black-led and focused:

  • individuals or small nonprofits holding wellness circles
  • disability justice collectives
  • therapists or wellness facilitators hoping to sustain existing support groups

Applications for the grant process closed in November of last year. With over 200 applications and such great healing justice work being done across the country, BEAM shared that they had a hard time deciding which programs to select.

After a period of application reviews and conversations, BEAM has selected their grantee winners:

  • Ballet After Dark
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills Group for Black Women
  • Project Q

In different ways, each of the grant winners focuses on Black emotional and mental wellness. To aid in their ongoing work for Black emotional wellness, each of the three grantees was awarded $10,000.

Read on to learn more about each of the awardees and the work our partnership is supporting.

Ballet After Dark (BAD) is a nonprofit organization in Baltimore, Maryland, led by classically trained ballet dancer Tyde-Courtney Edwards.

A survivor of violence herself, Edwards has created a space of empowerment for Black women and girls who have experienced trauma, providing resources through movement.

BAD helps survivors “reprocess, rebuild, and reclaim their lives” after trauma, and believes, “…community is the most impactful asset to healing and the greatest threat to an abuser.”

Utilizing holistic methods and somatic interventions like dance therapy to create curriculums, BAD says its goal is to create a community of survivors. This is done through programs like trauma-informed dance classes, mental health therapy, financial literacy workshops, self-defense workshops, and advocacy training.

As of this year, BAD’s dance therapy cohort has provided resources to over 400 youth and women in Baltimore City.

You can keep an eye on some of the work Ballet After Dark is doing through their Instagram.

Led by Clerrisa Cooper, LPC, NDBT, and Winter Foddrell, LPC, of North Atlanta DBT, the second awardee is a DBT Skills Group for Black Women.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a therapeutic intervention often used for folks with personality disorders that focuses on helping individuals learn coping and life skills, ideally leading to improved fulfillment and self-awareness.

According to their site, Cooper’s work with her clients is informed by Black feminist and healing justice frameworks, as well as a desire for DBT to be accessible to folks who live within the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ intersections.

Additionally, similar to Ballet After Dark, Cooper leans into trauma work, addressing healing and wellness through, “…somatic approaches that also incorporate intuitive, traditional, and ancestral healing practices.”

Foddrell’s client work also centers on compassion and social justice, and she advocates for marginalized communities, including Black women and LGBTQ+ folks.

Combined, Cooper and Foddrell acknowledge the varied ways Black women have to navigate their mental health in tandem with their lived experiences, and how oppression can impact one’s sense of identity.

According to BEAM, this DBT Skills Group addresses this by providing “…an opportunity to learn new ways to cope with the cognitive, emotional, physical, and relational impact of daily oppression and the opportunity to learn how to live a more full and effective life.”

If you’re interested in learning more, read more about this skills group on their site.

The third grantee is Project Q, a Los Angeles-based organization focused on Black LGBTQ+ youth and Queer youth of color.

Led by Madin Lopez, who is a Los Angeles native and survivor of trauma, Project Q supports Queer, LA youth, focusing heavily on housing insecurity.

Some efforts and programs include providing needed resources like food and hygiene boxes, job placement support, gender-affirming hair care, and a donation closet.

Project Q also holds regular workshops and events, including art therapy and a series entitled Introspection, focused on the reunification of Black families.

Introspection will be supported by the Black Peer Support and Community Care Grant, and according to BEAM, will help introduce caregivers and parents to thriving Black trans and nonbinary adults.

Project Q believes that intervening at an early stage and joining these groups in meaningful discussion will reduce barriers between elders and their Black trans youth, with the goal of creating more gender-affirming spaces and loving relationships.

Project Q is open to support through their site, or you can connect with them through Instagram.

Each of these programs, while led from different parts of the country and through different modalities, focuses on the healing needed within Black communities.

Traumatic experiences within Black communities are just as varied as our personalities, making the need for different trauma-informed, accessible, and culturally supportive efforts vital to our healing.

We’re thrilled to be witness to BEAM’s support of these initiatives and look forward to watching these collectives and organizations continue their healing justice work.

To learn more about the grantees and their expertise, follow us on social media and be on the lookout for more upcoming content with Healthline and Psych Central.