In May of 2020 Dr. Rheeda Walker, professor of psychology at University of Houston, published the book, “The unapologetic guide to Black mental health.” Dr. Walker recently joined The Friends of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA to discuss the importance of her book (video seen above).
Is racism bad for your health?
Dr. Walker pointed out that often times racism is viewed as one of many life stressors. However, the damage inflicted by racism goes above and beyond the wear and tear of daily stressors. She noted that darker skin complexion is related to more difficulty securing housing, fewer call backs after job interviews, and harsher legal consequences. She noted that racist experiences are traumas that are factors in leading to depression and physical illness.
How do you cope with racism?
Dr. Walker suggested that individuals frequently assess their psychological fortitude (PF), which she defines as an individual’s ability to think, manage emotions, and pursue one’s life purpose. She recommended that people rate their PF on a scale 0 to 10, with 0 being a sign of feeling feel burnt out and 10 indicating that someone is at full strength. Dr. Walker noted that African Americans must navigate career and life goals while facing a different set of rules than their White counterparts. Therefore, anytime someone assesses their PF to be lower than a 6, she suggested that they take a break, make a life change, or consider the help of a mental health professional.
If you notice that your PF is lower than 6, you may want to consider seeking help from a mental health professional trained in cognitive behavior therapy. If you are interested in learning more schedule a free phone consultation.
Dr. Jason von Stietz specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Sport/Performance Psychology in Torrance, CA. He provides online therapy (telehealth) by way of the Torrance office and is available for a free initial phone consultation. Dr. von Stietz works with individuals from Long Beach, the greater Los Angeles area, and the South Bay including Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo and all over California.