In 2020, I created an autobiographical art series called "Surviving in Isolation: The Black Mental Health Experience." I submitted it to the Artivism Initiative's Post Card Project, developed by Amber Haney, which is an initiative to spread awareness about social issues through art. I was a participant in the Post Card Project Art Show, hosted by MA gallery Atac Downtown Arts+Music (ATAC160). These pieces were originally postcards developed to address the struggles within the African-American community to receive proper mental health care. They address the feeling of isolation and abandonment that too many Black people with mental illness undergo. This issue is now blatantly apparent with the advent of COVID-19.
As a young African American/Caribbean (Bajan) woman who struggles with GAD along with agoraphobia and PTSD due to racial trauma, I’ve dealt with dismissal and poor treatment in mental health care. There is little diversity along with a lack of empathy and understanding of the Black American experience within mental health treatment facilities, which significantly harms the Black community. In turn, it causes some to drop out of therapy programs and withdraw due to a lack of understanding. As of 2015, only 4% of therapists are Black ("How Diverse Is the Psychology Workforce" via APA.org).
When we reach out for treatment, there is an issue of dismissal, refusal to see color, and insensitivity due to our trauma's connection to race, racism, and in the case of Black women/Black femmes, misogynoir. As a result, many drop out of treatment. Commonwealth Fund's article, "In Focus: Reducing Racial Disparities in Healthcare," reported in 2018 that these disparities have had little improvement. The African-American side of my family has a history of reaching out and dealing with dismissal. In contrast, others in my family have feared facing apathy and have withdrawn instead of seeking treatment.
You can read the full artist statement about this body of work in Allen & Houston Magazine via my personal essay, “Using Art Therapy to Heal: A Black 20-Year-Old’s Experience with Racial Trauma”