The BLM movement has been fighting for change for the last seven years, inspired by previous civil rights movements and against centuries of continued racial discrimination. Whilst the end is far from near, 2020 has put its foot down and demanded change is made and equality is striven towards. Although this is a vital time, news coverage, racial prejudice expressed in the media and revisiting past events can have profound effects on a persons mental health. Alongside Bath Mind and two wonderful interviewees, this blog post has been written with the goal of providing useful tips and advice.
- Monitor Social Media Use
Founder & Creative Director of The Clout Group PR, Quincy Dash discusses the Black Lives Movement and the affects it has had on him. Although he feels media coverage has increasingly turned more positive now he takes a step back when it becomes too much. He comments, “I try to stay away from the comment section now and listen to music or stay away from social media completely, when I feel like people are being inconsiderate.”
Janet Adebodun, a student mental health nurse, mental health awareness blogger, and black mental health awareness advocate feels similarly to Dash.
She reflects, “The coverage on BLM has been heart wrenching to say the least; although it’s been eye-opening, educational and productive, it’s equally been exhausting, repetitive and overwhelming. At times, the coverage – especially biased publication coverage has made me feel low in mood, anxious and hopeless.”
2. Prioritise Your Mental Wellbeing
The media coverage circling often revisits traumatic events or statements made by those in power and so it’s natural that this will have a negative impact on mental health. Dash stresses the importance of remaining focused on the goal and refraining from becoming too invested that “emotions start to cloud your judgement”.
He advises, “Just remember what you are doing it for and keep pushing for change. The moment rage or anger or you feel your mental well-being is being affected, shut down the laptop, social media or TV if you have to, just go take a breather and disconnect.”
Adebodun comments she’s familiar with social media breaks to “maintain mental health when things get overwhelming”. The first social media break Janet took left her with feelings of guilt, she comments, “I was conscious of coming across like I was turning a blind eye to the injustice happening in the world. But, I had to remind myself not to be too hard on myself as I was also dealing with my own personal grief and triggers.”
The student mental health nurse encourages reminding yourself just how important your mental health is, advising seeking advice from “friends and family who were also feeling the same feelings I felt and through talking and praying, we were able to explore our triggers, give each other hope and love and look out for each other’s mental health.”
3. Avoid the Comments Section of a Post
A consistent, unhelpful and frankly incorrect reaction to a BLM post is often the ‘All Lives Matter’ notion. Dash states that whilst this may be correct, the focus must be placed on how Black lives are being treated as if they DON’T matter rather than the movement insinuating other lives don’t matter.
He adds, “All lives cannot matter until black lives do. I try to stay away from the comment section now and listen to music or stay away from social media completely, when I feel like people are being inconsiderate.”
“At the beginning of the protests I felt really down, thinking it would
not get the traction this global issue would have. This is a wonderful
moment for many POC not only in the U.K. but the world. We have
people dedicating their lives and their mental wellbeing to save us,
whether black, brown or white. Thank you for your love and support.
We’re in this together.” – Quincy Dash
For more information on Black Lives Matter, please take a look at the links below.
Ciao for now x