Author: Maya Potiger

From nearly a million Americans who died because of the pandemic and the stress of weighing the risks of each exit, to the burden of switching code, fighting micro-aggression and fear of police violence, black people mental health affected during the pandemic.

And it’s not just about adults. The last two years have been especially difficult for children. Along with the stressors we all experienced, they dealt with the transition to distance learning and then back to face-to-face classes. Sports and other extracurricular activities were not as regular, and they may have had to be isolated from friends and family to stop the spread of COVID-19.

This year Month of Black History The theme “Black people’s health and well-being” is an opportunity to start much-needed conversations about the specific mental health needs of black children.

This is a conversation we need to have because black children grow up and become adults who suffer. The suicide rate is rising and rising, in particular among black men. Indicators of depression three times during the pandemic and symptoms worsened. And, because of the increased need for therapists, especially culturally informed ones, along with other tensions in the mental health profession, this may take a long time to get help.

The theme of this year’s Black History Month, Black Health and Well-Being, is an opportunity to engage in much-needed conversations about the specific mental health needs of black children.

At the very least, black children who are in full-time school may have access to help: a school psychologist. But what does a school psychologist do, why is it important that a school psychologist is black, and why are there no more black people in the profession?

Depending on your experience, you may not even know that your school or your child’s school has a psychologist. School psychologists are experts in learning, behavior, and mental health, and they can provide support for students in these areas: academic and behavioral interventions, mental health resources, and counseling with teachers and families.

What is black psychology?

As in any field of health, psychology is not a universal practice. Sign in Black psychology.

This is not a new concept. Dr. Joseph White wrote a major article for Ebony magazine in 1970 entitled “Towards Black Psychology,” explaining that basic psychology cannot be properly applied to African Americans.

Someone who does not have the same racial or cultural background may misdiagnose, misunderstand, and fail to appreciate the challenges faced by black children. Dr. Kevin CockleyProfessor of Educational Psychology and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, says Word In Black.

“This is especially important in schools because, as we know, it happens too often with black children in schools,” Cockley says. “We know that black children are victims of a number of disproportionate punishments they experience in these schools, things for which other children, frankly, can get away with it or not be punished.”

Additional responsibilities of black school psychologists

It is vital for black students to have an authoritative role in the school with whom you can communicate.

“For black children, access to black psychologists usually means having someone who will better understand your overall experience in a way that will make them more effective as psychologists,” says Cockley.

It is not news that black children are disproportionately dismissed from work or punished by other disciplinary sanctions. They are also misdiagnosed with learning difficulties and behavioral disorders. This increases the importance of the black psychologist in the school setting.

“Having black psychologists would allow children to benefit from doubt so that they can be better understood with an understanding of their racial experience, rather than being punished or treated for it,” says Cockley.

The importance of having black school psychologists and other mental health professionals is a better understanding of the unique circumstances that black students face.

CELEST MELON, President-elect of the National Association of School Psychologists

Although the transition to personal learning is largely seen as positive, Dr. Celeste Malone, president-elect of the National Association of School Psychologists, says the school has not always been a welcoming or friendly environment for colored children.

“It was a place where they felt micro-aggression from peers and teachers,” Malone says.

Malone also stressed that in addition to experiencing the disproportionate effects of COVID-19, black children are also more prone to violence against blacks when the country is considered structural and systemic racism. Although they may not have been physically present, filling them with videos, images, and conversations about the Black Death contributes to a sense of danger, and returning to a school environment that did not always support them is not always beneficial.

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