Taking care of your mental health is important for all individuals. A population that is not usually talked about in regard to mental health, however, is the BIPOC community.
Mental health affects everyone, but BIPOC deal with mental health in a very different way. On top of the stressors of life, BIPOC often have to deal with the weight of racism and hate on their shoulders.
In today’s world, BIPOC deal with many different types of racism. Microaggressions are everyday interactions like discriminatory jokes or comments; most often, those inciting these aggressions do not realize the flaws in their statements. They may see a joke or comment as not being very serious, when in reality these microaggressions are often predecessors for much more violent acts of hate and racism.
Hate crimes are incited acts of violence, an example being police brutality. During COVID-19, the world saw an increase in hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans. We also have seen — and continue to see — many examples of hate crimes against Black and brown individuals both over history and in recent years.
Growing up as a mixed-race person in a predominately white town, I was not free from the impact of hate. Growing up, many people wouldn’t believe me when I first mentioned I had a white mother and a Hispanic father. In their eyes I didn’t “look Hispanic enough.” But there is no one right way to appear mixed race. Everyone who is mixed has a valid identity no matter what their appearance may be.
My mental health has been impacted in many ways by my identity as a Hispanic woman and mixed race person in America. I am just beginning to figure out how to unpack the years of microaggressions and racism that I have faced growing up. Even then, I have only faced a limited amount of these acts of hate. I can’t even begin to understand the feelings of those around me who face even worse acts of racism.
If you are looking for a place to connect with others who share similar identities as you, you can visit one of UConn’s many cultural centers. Visit the Office for Diversity and Inclusion’s website to find out what events and programs are currently being offered and to get involved. If you want to start taking control of your mental health as a BIPOC, there are many resources out there to help. Therapy, while not for everyone, is a great start into taking care of your mental health. By talking about your lived experiences, you may be able to unpack how racism shows up in your own life.
If you cannot afford therapy out of pocket, there are many nonprofit and mutual aid organizations that aim to provide free or low-cost therapy for BIPOC. UConn also has various mental health resources and therapists available through Student Health and Wellness, which provide help for all kinds of mental and
behavioral health issues. If you think you would benefit from therapy or mental health support, visit SHAW’s website or call 860-486-4705