In an effort to destigmatize mental health within the Black community, my circle of friends is discovering affinity and therapy in the form of our Black group chats. Our group text exchanges are the life-changing therapy we need, a space where we can come together through our shared identity and experiences, uplift and support each other, and find joy within the thread of messages we receive.
Therapy via our Black group chats is giving us life; inspiring within us a renewed sense of energy and optimism. What started out as a simple daily check-in text of "What's good?" or "How's everyone doing?" has evolved into a virtual therapy couch to process our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Organic in nature, our group therapy sessions are filled with laughter, tears, and everything in between. From the exchange of inspirational words and Black grandmother sayings, to commentary on the latest "buss it" challenge video, our group chats serve as an authentic Black space where we can just be, without fear or judgement. Our group chats are where we find affirmation, love, humour, and soul.
Who knew that the best therapy we needed we could give to ourselves, free of charge.
Our group chats serve multiple purposes depending on what the group needs. We use the space to build connections, crowdsource ideas, and to give advice to one another. Within the group, we motivate each other with virtual "pep talks," while also celebrating our individual accomplishments, no matter how big or small.
At times, however, our text threads are utilised to unpack the racism we collectively face, which is a public-health crisis. Some days our text threads discuss big events happening in the world and how those events impact our experiences as Black people. Other days, our chats focus on processing the microaggressions we have received, oftentimes rehearsing with each other how we plan to address these situations with the person who committed the offence. Therapy is essential in navigating the racial stress of everyday life, especially within our predominantly white work environments.
Our Black group chats have provided a sense of belonging and encouragement, spaces where we feel seen, heard, and valued, which is, in many cases, a stark contrast from our work experiences. More accessible than a therapy app, our Black group chats are healing and restorative, giving us the support we need to keep going when it all feels like too much. Behind every text message are friends who are genuinely rooting for you; we are each other's village of supporters, and we have each other's back, no matter the circumstance.
I'm grateful for the fellowship found within our Black group chats, a space for us to authentically unite and celebrate our Blackness. When the world around us is filled with darkness, the sound of a new text from our Black group chat is the light at the end of the tunnel to help us persevere. Who knew that the best therapy we needed we could give to ourselves, free of charge.
We are still deciding on the name for our group chat; we plan to put it to a vote next week. Summoning the strength of our ancestors, we created something both culturally resonant and magical, amplifying our collective Black voices in a world where they are otherwise muted.