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Root Causes
Root Causes

Season 1, Episode 11 · 1 year ago

Episode 11: Mental Health, Gun Violence, and Reforms

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

On this week's episode of Root Causes, we are joined by Andrea Brown and Nia Jones from the Black Mental Health Alliance. We discuss the connection between slavery and our U.S. institutions, ways in which the State has broken down our communities, as well as ways to prioritize the wellbeing of your whole community.

Hello enwelcomed, a episode of elevenof Route Causes D, not my generation podcast, the podcast that hopes tobring a national discussion on the different intersections of the fightsand gunvilncs. This is your host. Addison, Moore and deliza nickels fromDC. Welcome to route causestoday will be discussing mental health, gunviolence and necessary reforms with He. NEAJONES and Andrea Brown from theBlack Mental Health Alliance. Welcome the ANANDREDA. How are you both doingtoday? Super excited to be here. I no MEA will chim in, but it is couldn't bea more perfect day to have this discussion. So thank you so much morealong less to participate. You know and Superstok to be here, Um and havingthis W. I I think it's going to be a really dop conversation Bo. I'm ready!Why don't you both introduce yourselves for us and for the Liseners as well? Some Aunte Brownm, the executivedirector of the Black Mentelhoath Allione, and I have that acsoluteprivilege to work with a talented team of consultants and therapists andpartitioners and community of people who are looking to be well. I've beenhere a little bit over a hundred and forty days, so super excited about that,and I do the countdown not because I'm bored, but because it is just beenamazing, so thank you give riving and again my name is Nea Jones. I am alicensed social worker here in Maryland, and I'm also one of the one of theamazing team members of the Blackman wohealth thelion also am inAntreprerneu, I own a human resources, consulting company as well as awellness company, all Ba er in Baltimore. That's amazing, wow! Thankyou both for introducing yourselves and everything. So are you all ready todive into the questions? The the real deal is. Are you ready forus? You know what w that's a great way toSeuay into these questions, so whes both of your experience been working inthe mental health field and specifically working with in servingblack individuals and other armarginalized individuals. I think I'm I let NIA a lead on thisone, but I will say that we in the black community are alwaysthe most undersserved the most needed point for varity of wizes, not becausewe're not brilliant or resourceful, but just because of an equity, and so Ithink ane will really be able to speak to obviously drawn from own practiceabout. You know what that looks like the difficulty in reducing thes stigmaabout mental healt, and how do we do that? So it's not! Oh, my God you'vegot this problem. No, Oh, my God. I've got this brilliance and I need to treatthis, and so I will share with you now I'll. Let you take the fool on that one sure. So I have been in the mentalhealth space Um my entire career um in a couple of different ways: Um mybachelors is in psychology, and so I initially thought I was going to gointo health psychology. I was looking at health disparities and howwitimpacted people, Hof Color, specifically black people, and went to work for a major researchinstitution and realized that in the research we were looking at Um facebased communities and how mental health would show up specifically forparenting. U Parenting Skills En. We also did a lot of work around intimatepartner violence. So I was a part of the team that coined the PHRAZE INTMATpartner violence here in Baltimore, and I realized that you know we were doingsome really amazing work. Looking at how intimate partner violence andmental health Um had an impact on the care for babies, so you're developmentfrom being inside of your mom, so she's...

...baking, you right and then, when youhave the baby right, it's an actual human walking around, and so we wouldactually look at their developmental markers and saw how intimate partnerviolence had impacted that child. But it wasn't just intimate partner, violence or, just youknow, faith based institutions. It was really what came up for me was thatthere was such a stigma around mental health, and so we know that one andthree African Americans who struggle with mental health issues, will everreceive treatment, and so that is incredibly low, Um and it wasn'tbecause they didn't necessarily want to. It was usually about against Digma,which I always describe as disrespect right. So it's ultimately, I came toyou with a problem. I told you how I was feeling and because you couldn'tsee it on the outside, you lessened it and you lessened my emotion and myconcern when I came to you Um, and so in that work I saw a continuing ofdisrespect um by Byclonicion so psychiatrist, who, with the patients inin a hospital and really had the approach that black women were just sad.They were just you know, dependent on welfare and they were just dead and itwas going to be okay. We were going to give him Thi gift car and they weregoing to be fine. I had seen that children in the school system, who werejust angry to be black in America, a lot of times, is to be filled with rageand depression at the same time, and so forgive them if they're upset and theycome to school angry because of all the systemic variers that they had toexperience, and so I've seen it in the the school system. I've seen it inhospitals, I've seen it in employment, and so I did a nine year stretch M andhuman resources around recruiting individuals who would actually educateblack and brown children Um and found that that there was again another issuearound mental illness with individuals who were degreed right, like these wereth the teachers that were going to be working with young people and still thesame mental health concerns were coming up, regardless of how much money theymade where they lived in the city. You know who their parents were where theywent to church it didn't matter, it impacted all of those Brown people thatI worked with across intersectionabity almost the same, and it was always wentback to this issue of stigma. You know I went to someone and I had a concern Iwas feeling said I was crying, I was angry and they didn't. You know care tohelp me and so in this fifteen years, which at this point sounds crazy to sayto me it's wild. I hate thing to work crazy, it's wile to say fifteen yearsin this industry, but seeing consistently that black and Brownpeople don't get the service that they need from a mental health and a healthcare for Expectin, because mental health is health right, Yo, your brainand all the chemistry that makes it up lives in your body. It's not like thispurse that I carry in here, Um and so continuing to see that same thing showup over and over again told me that I needed to be able to approach mentalhealth I in a totally different way in order for it to actually work. Could Ijust Ayou know as funny as we talk about this stigma? No, that just didn'thappen, that's plantation based. You know it comes back, Hdon't tell Mastero,don't tell the other slave, and so we carry that with us, and so this wholenotion of not telling isn't, because you know we just mmade it up. Orbecausewe're this Pripor Peopleit is plantation base, and so we see thatwhole notion of keeping silent is willing rooded in structural wacism andIwe're, going to be onus. You know we said well, black people are so quietand silent that just didn't compromis. That was because it Wasin great, and soyou know, as I was listening to me, a share and we talk about the stigma andwe talk about you know how do we reduce...

...that? We would talk about you knowbeing sad or you know, women being sad and or black angry women that justdidn't start yesterday or the day before. That is plantation based yeahfor sure it. I think about Um Kenabears's show black as and everyepisode starts with, because of slavery, and so many things for black people,including our mental health, goes back to that Um, dehumonizing experience m and so fromthat in that Sanstructornal racism and a lot of the research that was done on,especially black women during that time spoke to how they were seen in thehealth industry right. So that's I said earlier how black women are seen as ifwe can handle more pain than others, and then I think about you- know a lotof the APSTET tricks. The advances that they made in that area of the medicalfield was because of the black body, and so I see those barriers in medicineI see those variers and how people can get access to mental health treatment,Um, and that goes back to like research numbers that goes to. You know how ourpeople actually get their insurance right. So does your insurance evencover it, and even when you actually have insurance? That is the weight list.A Mile Long, a lot of times back people are looking for a theapist, apsychiatrist, a counselor who looks like them, and so then it it looks at access toproviders, and so it's I just stigmas, also access, and so, if I, if only fivepoint three percent of the active psychology workfors is people of colorcompared to eighty three p point: six percent of white people, I'm going to beat stuck on a weightlist over and over again, because it it's going to be hard for me to findthat person who can identify appropriately. I just wanted to saythank you. I I really wanted to say thank you,because you're spending, this very limited amount of time that you have asa practitioner as someone who's engaged in these mental holspaces. So thank youfor taking some of that time. U T aducate us to be in a community with usto really be in Community Anto help educate our lesseners as well. So Ijust wanted to say thank you for your words and for spending this time withus lelcome. I think both of you touched on this in your responses around thedifferent ways as to why black and Brownd individuals can't access ordon't access, mentural health services. Um. Could you both? If you you know,can' cand, I dive into and explain what those barriers are and what they looklike and name them 'cause. I think sometimes people think it's. Thisinvisible force field of why people can't access MIT's hope that there isactually changeable reasons as to why I'm curious Os. How both of you wouldexplain those barriers, so I think th a a couple of things. Youknow inequity again, you know there's theinsurance issue, and so you know one of the things that we've seen and I knowne will be be able to speak to this one of the things that we've seen is N.it's great when people say o Kobi, just we can do tellhow, we HAV and MN. Youknow black people in communities a color is we have Internet access to dothat, and so we cand do all that around one and people often say how is it youdon't have inter access? Are you kidding me? You don't walk a mile inour shoes. While you know the notion of telehealth is exciting, it is, and itis such an opportunity for us to have access provided we willwe have access,so we can talk about, obviously limited insurance, the inability to have accessto internet in a way that is meaningful, not just on my home and here's. Theother thing, the inability to have...

...access to a therapist who wasculturally competent, and so you know Nia talked a little bit earlier about.Did you expect me to talk? I want to make sure you look like me and I wantto make sure that you understand from the lands, and so even if you don'tlook like me, it is important that you have access to a culturally competenttraining so that you get to see through the lens like I do and again, Nia willbe much more engaging because she knows, but part of what wee seen and part ofthe outcry is because there there really is a nine one, one out about. Ohmy God. How can I get access to high speed Internet so that Ican talk to my Gaber and I'm not talking every day, I'm just talkingabout a weekly appointment or Bo weekly. So I think those are someting of theBerry is that we don't often think of but are crinical to what we do.Absolutely and all Internet is not created equal right like just becauseyou have, it doesn't mean that it can withstand mom being on a therapy,appointment and Sond, O daughter, or you know, niece nephew, whoever in theother room, doing school work it maybe can't, and then your T v might also beon it right. I think a couple of other barriers are Um. I I mentioned the weight list earlierright, so Um at the beginning of Covet. I had a very small client case loadbecause I was what I could handle and then right, like we've, been saying thisentire time that theapist have been the most quiet, essential workers duringthis time, because Wehavpog clains went up three hundred percent in March M,and so yes, that there's more availability right now I don't have todrive to my client. I can see them in Tela health, but then it's around. Youknow if I have thirty there's only a certain amount of hours in the day thatI'm going to be able to see people, and so there's so many practitioners whoare either burned out and unable to take on more client or they're justunable to take on more, and so you get stuck on these on these weight lists,and there are so many organizations that are opening as mental healthproviders that are really just init for the money, and so I know specificallyhere in in Maryland. You know you see a cpy for no less than twenty minutes, nomore than sixty minutes and you get reimbursement based upon that and sopeople ill either short in a session or drag it out just for the thecompensation which takes it to my next point around cost. So if I do not havestate insurance right, so state insurance, it's is usually free to theindividual who is covered by it. Their mintual health services cost themnothing right, and so I just build the state essentially for their services.But if I have a self paid client, those sessions can range anywhere fromseventy dollars to a hundred and forty dollars per session right and so thatthat's a lot of money Um, especially for someone who, if you're severelydepressed like I was at one point. I had to see my therapist twice a weekand thank goodness she was only fifty dollars a session, and you know I saythat from a place of privilege. I recognized that hat was a hundreddollars a week for ninety days until she was able to help me Rightside, myship, that I had to go see her. That's a lot of money, Um and now I'm at aplace where my my topic has changed. I don't need to see my thefit that oftenbut as a therapist, I still wasn't able to find somebody and at probably wasbeing picky. First of all, that's let's be real, but the O thing is. I went toI went to a platform. I went to talk, speed four hundred dollars a month andI only get a thirty minute session with the AIRFOD. I get the Texar wheneverbut again privilege because I was able to pay for that. But imagine you know ma single mom who probably really needs two hours or more per week, and youknow it's maybe working and has employer paid insurance and either hasto pay the copay for mental health and...

...it's usually on the far end or you know,can't find somebody because of the cause Um and I think the last barrieris really around. Probably we talked about cultural competency, but thatalso speaks te research. So I've been talking about the senses for a fewweeks now and how, when you do research kind at the mackerel level, when I doresearch- and I I perform the literature review- I'd- get that datafrom the senses. If we're talking about things that are for black and Brownpopulation and black and Brown people don't complete the senses, my researchis going to be skewed, and so then, how does an evidence base practice actuallysupport people of color if they're not reflected in the initial data um? Andso it's so much bigger than like this lack of access and in equities and thebehavioral healthcare system is more than kind of the microlevel thear BIS.The client experience it also kindof reaches up in terms of you know howmoney is allocated within our different states based upon th, the same datathat comes from the senses only every ten years, and so we're talking aboutgenerational impact. At that point k you said something earlier, as you weretalking about, you know, shifting from your Regulat Teit to sort of open space.But you know the notion of express therapy is frightening to me and againwe, you know we say. Oh at least you get a little, but the challenge wouldbetter in these critical times, and you know you get to see me for twentyminutes number one, because that's your Internet, I'm one, because that's whatyou're can apoid, but I I shudder to think what that does for community, andI love what you live with. You know, Alaja about community, and I know youin Addison. You know that that is such important language because it really istof. I am a single mother and what, if I'm not right, and if I'm not a singlemother but I'm taking care full household, I have a partner all of that.The challenges that is still- and I get twenty minutes- that's still not enough,but that's all I can afford in so to be able to shortcut that concerns me aboutour our longterm wellness and optimal. Well being so, thank you both for talking about someof those barriers. It's interesting to hear too, because I experienced thoseas well when I was searching for like a mental health provider, and I thinkit's it's really important to how light like, sometimes being picky on you'cause. You said Thot H, like maybe I was picky, but that's like. Sometimesyou have to be ecause. This person is going to be addressing your mentalhealth and they're, going to be helping you with that and to not feel safe andcomfortable with that person, one if you're paying for yourassustonce an will feel like a waste of money and a waste of time, if you're,someone who doesn't necessarily have the ability to 'cause, I'm thinkinglike for my experience, took me over a year to find a therapist thatnot only respectit my gender identity but also understood my racial identity.How that impacts, my mentill Helpe as well, and because of that it took evenlonger for me to get the help that I needed, and I think that that'ssuperimportant to heigdalight as one of those barries that, like it's not evenjust about 'cause, you c get the therepase. You could pay for thesessions. But then, if they're not going to be for you, then it's still awaste of time and it still a waste of money that people can't always afford,especially thinking of black and Brouam individuals being the ones who weredoing a lot of labor working sixty seventy eighty hour weeks, who can'treally afford or have that extra income to be able to get even those thirtyminute sessions which, but again, like you, said, Andrea, it's not even worthsometimes that thirty minutes, because it'sjust not enough time to be able totackle the things you might eat to in the session. So I really appreciateboth of be sharing those different ways. How folks H, like the barriers they'reexperiencing winning accessing Mentalhele, something on a ad? It seemsas if Lik with these discussions that we're having not only from this episode,we've sort of realized and had this art...

...really and how thisn narrative forLikquitertem ut this truth really of how there is the commonification ofwell being the Comodification of health, the comodification of Internet accessof Communication Really Um, and I I think thobe look atless like yes me asa white person working class Lo and come white person M I've had everythingin my life. COMODIFIED howvert is not to the extent that black individualshave that because from the extent to which America is really conceived as anation, there's always been a comodification of black movements oflack health, and so it's really quite interesting. I think, gets aquaintimperative within gunamounts pruvention spaces that we internalize thatstruggle, how we have to dcommodify health and Mellbeing, how we have todecommodify on Internet axiss. We have to decomondify movement at the end ofthe day. I really appreciate like touching on that and seeing that itcomes up nearly every single episode, absolutely M. I always tell my clientsthat finding a therapist its kindo like going shopping for bread in the Britiright, like there's a ton of different brands and labors and colors of bread,and you find the one that works for you and that may take some time, and I tellthem that hen the first session, like don't get stuck with me. I might not bethe the right person, but back to a twenty minutes thing it it also it's avery kindof like thinking about building community. My client case loadis ninety nine percent, black women and girls. I have one black man Um, so ahundred percent a black case load and it takes twenty minutes just to getthrough the how you doing howare the children doing what's been going on. Ohyour back's hunting, okay, it takes at least every client without fail, twentyto twenty five minutes to get through that and then they'll go into andto thethe thing that concernd them and so again, yea' concerned about. If we makethis express care, commodifying mental health right like H, are we really get into the routcars?No, no pun. Intendent I like that good good stuff, you knowNeif, I could just add an CA certainy. We won't hijack this, but you weighsomething about your kaseload about. You know ninety nine percent, women andthen there's this one. You know the one black man and you know that in and oitself is, is another issue. How do we make sure that our men and boys arehealthy and they understand the truth about deropy and not the shame thatcould be associated with it? And you know Addison you kN W. You saidsomething that we live by and that is this notion of sage space. We've got anumber of things that we do around that emancipation circles d and me I againcan speak to those. But when we start talking about a sae space, that'sanother thing. If you think that the brothers are just going to come outjust because you say so, that's not going to happen if it took him a yearand he was willing what about those who don't think that they need it and theydo because it is the other thing. If we do this right. If the notive aroundtherapy for black men and boys its message right, then we get theopportunity to liberate a generation of boys andmen. We had not been able to doso in the past, but it's got to be right. It can't be the express it's gotto be in a safe place and they have to have access and so that they they getto have access in away that they had not previously. So I just wanted to Ra. Is that? Becauseyou know, when you think about me, is caseload and that's just one. I suspectthat hers is probably more of the norm than the exception, and so, if we seethat, then how dol we weach, ailing and hunting men and boys black and wound. So we are not my generation. We reallyinternalize this struggle n. This idea...

...of the collective liberation of allpeople, but we also we don't use that sort of like a shield to acknowledgethe disparities in this certain historical Um, like love as ofOpression, that have come towards cer community, specifically black and Browncommunities, and we now because the data is very, very clear that blackcommunities are typically hit the hardest from the reality of Gun,violence and and that's parted, with a low investment to community serviceslike that of Mento health programs. So can both of you sort of discuss howthat access to men to held th resources in black and browned communities, howndit Intersex with a fight and gun violence, because I think it's animportant conversation and it needs to be had more really. I didn't think Iwould have a chance to talk about this, but um a few weeks ago here on my street right. So I'm sittingin my house on my street Um one of my neighbors sons. Um had committed acrime. I don't know what it was Um and he had done something else behind that the first crime he he he had served.His time he came home, he done something else and decided toessentially hide in his mother's house and forthree days for thirty six hours. Our entire street was on locked down UM andcouldn't go out to the store to get food couldn't just couldn't leave ththe house Um, and so in that moment we were like what what'sgoing on like we just we keep hearing, gunshipe, ther, tear gas, there's aswit team in the middle of the street Um and we're like what is going on.Eventually, we we hear that it is Um, my my neighbor's son and he had amental health concern and a gun and he has shot at the robots that have comeinto his house Um and they are having the hardest time talking him down, andso he didn't get the help that he needed when he was sent away in myfamily, they calle it on vacation Um. He was sent away on vacation Um anddidn't get the help that he needed when he entered into the the prison systemand came out and still lived with this mental health concern Um and had accessto a weapons and so um. The the the team here inBaltimore was amazing that the SWAT team and the police- they were verykind and calm wit, h with the Guy Um, but it still begg. The question of youknow his access, timetal health treatment while away on vacation or forwhoever's listening. That means you're away in prison Um while away onvacation and and then again when he came home, he was never rehabilitated and so again like we bring up this issue of access to Ummental health services, because why wasn't he helped? And then, at thispoint he has totally endangered the labs and the ladelihood of everybody onthis on the street, and so it is baffling to me the lack of access thatpeople receive when they've been institutionalized by for from mentalhealth services. It's usually a lot of sopsychotropic medication, and so itturns you into a Zambi rather than again dealing with the actual issue,and then you know him actually having access to a weapon and being able to get that so easily.Whether it was you know, registered or not Um, he hadaccess to it and actually shot at the robots that they senk inside the homeUm. But he clearly wasn't in control of all of his his M mental faculties.Right like he was, he was hurting and the only thing that got him out of thehouse was his mother Um, and so I think about the lack of littal health professionals who areable to help individuals like him...

...when they've been institutionalized forsomething either petty or not right, 'cause, it gots to be real Dati eschool to prison pipeline, and you know not getting rehabilitatedafter being sat down right like a lot o times our transformation happens whenwe are sitting still, you mean to tell me that we couldn'ttransform somebody who I'm sure the state was profiting off. U We couldn'tgive him some some mental health support and then he still gets accessto a weapon. So I don't know what his diagnosis was, but a lot of times. Whathappens is individuals who have access to these these types of weapons andhave 'a ental health concern are a lot of times either diagnosed as bipolar,because that's a really easy diagnosis to get again reimbursed from Um and soas an adult if you live with major depression or you live with bipolar daobipolar, especially here in Maryland, it's easier to to reimburse for anadult with that, in addition to substance use and so an individual thatis bipolar or depressed or inactively, using a substance also have access to agun, and how does that? How does that keep us like baffling again? Can you hear it it's inmy voice, I'm confused by it, and so they individuals don't have access to aquality person, even if they are, you know, sent away on on vacation. Inaddition to those who are actually still on the street. Actually, here inBaltimore that are living with substance, use is order and still haveaccess to to a weapon, and so it is again back to that. Twenty minutesession thing like that was put out how I was trained. You have a twenty minutesession with an individual who was living with major depression or theyare a diagnosed as bipoder, and so that gives me concern, for you know howsafe people are, because a lot of times what comes with that is suicidalidiation individuals who live with major depression, such as myself,usually suicidal adiation, marries itself to it, because the pain is sodeep that the only way that you feel like you can escape from sad pain isthrough ending your own life Um, and so, if I have access to a weapon Um,especially for for men, we know that they are more likely to to experience death by suicide with a afirearm, and so someone who has that type of diagnosis is still able to haveaccess to a deatly weapon and not the the appropriate treatment that theydeserve again batfalincome, but I'e passed off Andra. So Ne Come L. won'twe just be honest man. I think you have been, but I think W we scratch in thesurface here so m to Phat you thin so W. I like the the example that you raiseabout your neighborhood okay, and so you know what recently happen. That'sall true! All of that, but he's the other part how about when wejust think they're bad and they don't even have a diagnosis, Goud need one.Let's talk about that right and so, as a wasult of that you know, becausewe've never stopped to think. Maybe mighty is I mean. Maybe he has a mentalowness, but it's that he's just a bad ass and so he's got access to this he'sgot access to that and because of that, he's never diagnosed and in his mindhe's like. I think something could be wrong, but perhaps is not right. Wus,just less te start there. So to let's talk about how we don't evenacknowledge only on that there's an issue and then when we do, that is theabsence of train practitioners who can go with the squad can go. I SWATA Imean: is that so hard to have somebody...

...honestly who was trained in this fieldto be able to talk to him and say you know what maybe he's not being Abad asshe's sick and he has access to a weapon so so o we're going. To be honest, Ithink we need to talk about how it is easier to say, oh so, and sosomething's wrong with them, instead of saying maybe they're adhd or maybethate's something else going on so her's. The other thing. Let's talkabout the situation in Wochester that happened. What three three months ago,I'm shocked, because I have a mental health issue and diagnows and peopleknow that and so we're talking about. You knowthis whole notion of and I think w what you saw n there. I think that's justgoing to heighten. I think that we are weally on the brinkof seeing this. You know almost crashing Bron and you know people mentals, have access to guns and againYo k W. I wan to t I wantto to talk about the black community whet we thinkabout immanual. Not. I know that boy had a diagnos had to com. I mean notnot just because he was racist, but I mean that was something thete was m,major condition, and so I jut, I think, that you know neo talk about the penalsystem and how it has pailed over and over again, but I think it's done thathig design MHM, you know we're going to talk about Thi School. The prisonpipeline TAT is all by design, and so now he well left with the Meste cleanup,and so I think that you know I could go on and on, but it anges me to know thatthere's less a support and Juvy for young people who, who were therelacking t support there, and- and so we just oh he's, just bad or she's, justbad, no she's sick, and I don't know that I answered your question. Butagain I think that we've got to be mirnful about what's by Desi. This ismall by design for sure I had another thought around Um anxiety right, so ourbodies are naturally wired for fight or flight, and so I think aboutindividuals who carry to protect themselves in their communities right,and so this this need to to feel safe in a space where we know that, if Icall nine one one, I may end up dead in a situation where I was just trying toprotect myself, and so you know could it be, and I'm not talking about folksthat are just going out here. You know hurting people, because they they thinkyou know I'm a badas right. I'm talking about individuals who you know may havea mental health condition may also be really anxious about being I black inAmerica- and you know this needs o protect Kindo in Thi. In the midst ofof all the trauma, that's happening around me, and so you know what what isto be said for individuals who you know get caught up in gun violence, becausethey were trying to protect themselves Um, and so I don't know C, I might bethinking a little too out of the bout as a relate to that. But I I put thaton the table that you know there are so many people in our neighborhood blackand Brown neighborhood that live with anxiety. And so what is it that we thathas happened structuraly? What is it that you know has set in our DNA againgoing back to Um ours, lave ancestors? What is it that has really? You knowchanged how we see you know protection or lack there of and caused individualsto be caught up in these situation, and then you know we have to have thingslike a stace, pier, for example, here...

...in Baltimore, because folks were tryingto protect themselves Um, but it all goes back to this issue ofanxiety, n mental health and either I fight oifulley. And you know it maylook like something to get somebody who looks like me, but how deep seated isthat anxiety to the point that I turn on my own brother or my own sister? Youknow th and again I promise you. We are not trying to hidact this conversation,but it is so interesting and so deep ne used, the you know, Thi Spitofflightanxity was never my issue except now iam the mother of this brilliant black,sixteen year old boy who is purfect to us, but when he leaves he he's a targetfor them, and so now I'm anxious- and so you know, I certainly won't go onrecord talking about how I deal with that anxiety. But what I will sayisthat you come for us. I promise you. I want to lose my job, but at the endof the Ha, quite frankly, there are things: There's got to be a diagnosisnow fut just being black. It's probably colled two two two something else but and you know 'cause, they say w. what'sthe insurance callng, I think it's DCM, you know better than I done so it'slike seven. Five one, maybe that's non se- I don't know- maybe that's bopo, OKitafronte, but now there's got to be one 'cause, I'm a black mother, gottabe Wone, and so I quite honestly I feel like when you start to talk about gunviolence. I almost feel like it is my right and my privilege so that I canprotect my amazing black son to be able to carry my fire on and if you cou getin my way I promis you have hearded here tonight, but itit is on, but I think that is what people are feeling and- and this isn'tem about being poorn, this isn't about being any any class. This is just aboutbeing black in America. That was a great mikedrop honestly and also I justwant to say, like don't apologize for taking up space. In this conversation,I think both of you have really amazing like points to bring up, and it'sbrought a lot of value to even just some things that I hadn't reallythought about exactly I'm a black person, I haden't thought about howthat blackness has um really impacted. The way that I interact with the worldlike I know, but I didn't like put it- haven't- put it intowords, so I thinkthat that both of you have added some really beautiful things to theconversation, something that yelall mentioned. That I think it's reallyimportant is that, like sometimes the violence that I think people like toassociate with back people is because of these systems that they have put usinto Um in order to need to be violent, like I think I do, youth developmentwork as well like outside of my work with no my generation and an interesting topic. That's alwaysbrought up as like. Why would a young person kill over a pair of shoes? Well,even though, yes, it is a pair of shoes, it's not about the shoes itself, it'sabout everything surrounding the shoes, the value of them, what that means asyour Saddus as a person in society, what does that mean with community?What does that mean and when you're thinking of young people, specificallythese things that weare like? Oh, it's just a pair of shoes as you get older,it's like well, no, it's not! It's never been just about the pay or shoes.It's never been about the object I feel like when we don't look past thesurface. We end up just ignoring the actual problem which, when you you know, we really name perfectlynamed Tho podcast. When you get to the route cause of an issue, that's whenyou end up seeing work being done. That's when you end up seeing somethingfixed. It's like how this past year, the young girl M, I feel so bad 'cause.I cannot remember exactly where, but she was diagnose with Abhd and had hadlike some behavioror problems, but it ended up going to jail because shedidn't, because of not being able to finish our homework and I'm like we'rein a pandemic. Are you really thinking like homework? Is the priority whenmental health is on the line right now, like people are stressed out aboutmultiple things, also, a already having those diagnoses and being a black womannavigating the world, that's only going...

...to make it worse. That's only going toput it into perspective of, like you know, oh well, you're, just angry allthe time we just need to fix the anger when it's like the anger was never theissue. It's not the people that are angry. The system that they're put inthat's making them angry, and I think that, like yve mentioned that before-and I feel like that's definitely important to talk about Wan thinking ofMental Hepe. But I do want to go to our next question 'cause. I think it wouldbe. I think it's really diable thinking about this. We've talked about access alot in this conversation, but we even even mentioning it in this commercythat access is still not enough because you can get to therapeyp. What are thebarriers that, especially when it comes to our health care system, there arestill a lot of barriers that people face. I want to know what your ALDspespective on is free at the point of view single payer, a necessary choice which will covernments all programs atreatment so thus, in these desperities to help in gun biolence. Or do youthink our current health care system in America works? I think, there's very little in Americathat works so just be clear about my think. One ofthe things that we we are reading collected me a book called why we can't wait by DorMart Luse kings were many. Many years ago a ACTL was written from his jail celland Birmingham and it's Qaugt. While we can't wait, and so while much haschanged much has not, and so one of the things that he argues is three hundredyears of humiliation of peace and deprobation. You know it. Wille cannotbe um expected that we find our hoice in a whisper and so yeah. I I thinkthere are many things that are broken, but I think you know she will probablyhave a onsome insight as a partitioner a and again because she sees it all the time sonear Yeah. I I think it would work right ina in a perfect world. It certainly would work and we've seen it workoverseas right. So we know that Um that that option would work, but I don't think people are going to getout of their own way to do it because, again, because of of America it it's it's all, it's atangled web of intersectionality right. So if I give everybody access to Um,you know th the Best Uh chancer specialists right and the the bestmental health providers. You know how do I, how do I then decide? You knowyou know who's batter and who's not, and so it it's it's bigger than youknow. Will our government just pay for everyone to get access to what theyneed? It starts to ask questions around likereally starting to shake the foundation of everything that our country kind ofsits on Um, and so I think about a conversation that Andrew and I had withan individual a few months back. He talked about his his struggle with Umbeing by polar for a very long time and he lived in a black community acrossthe country Um and talked about how he could never find the right help untilhe came into some money Um and with that money he was able to get a supportpuppy. He was able to have an amazing theacist that he saw least twice a week.He was able to actually pay for some of the the Self Care Practices that heneeded to engage it. He then had time to journal Right, and so it's biggerthan you know. Do I get the access to actually go to the person because nowyou're bringing up like if, if our country decides to decide to do that,they then kick up a lot more dust around well. My Zip code then doesn'tdefine whether or not I live right,...

...because we all have access to the samecare Um. You know my skin color doesn't define. You know my life's expectancyanymore, because we all have access to it. I can then get my support puppy. Ican, then you know access those. Those selth care aptions that I wasn't ableto afford because I was paying ad a pocket for all of the treatment that Ineeded, and so would it answer the question absolutely M it. Would itwould help generations to you know, undo a lot of the oppression that we'veexperienced with our mental health, but the reality is I'm not certain thatthis country will pull that lever Um and I don't. I can't live in that world,unfortunately, and so it's caused for you know people like myself to reallyapproach myself health in a different way and to advocate Um differently forit. But yes, I'll pay more taxes if it means that everybody gets access to areally great position, Um, I just I don't know if it's going to happen, buthe he neverthing Mer. I think it goes back to what we talked about, and Iknow you know you amition. We talked about the school because Posin Pria,let's be clear. This is all by design. It really is so even it not happeningis by design, you know and is trategic. It is strategic, citedly INISTRATEGIC.So I think you know, I think I agree with NEA. Obviously, yes, it would begreat, but you know I'm not told that even this is part of the grand desire.Can it be changed. I think you know absolutely. The Revolution is coming yeah, one hundred and ten percent. Ithink I I think, like tying it back to no my generation in the work that we doour sort of perspective in our theory of change. Is We push for exactly whatwe want? We say we're not budging like we take it from our ancestors. We takeit from those that have organized before us. The more you sort of give onyour demands, the less you'll get I'm so like we an omidration. We stronglystand by the idea that we are pushing for this liberated world, and this isthe type of system that we want to live in understanding we're not always goingto get that and it's going to take a very, very long time B, but I thinkthere's that reality that'. Yes, yes, we're fighting for these big things,but it's also like, like you said Umnia, is it going to happen because thiswhole entire system has been rooted in the privatization and the hoarding ofresources by White, wealthy elives Um for the longest period of time,aminut's like Willhe whitewealthy lets? Well, they basically m give up theirsome of their wealth for even like small sense of like at least mindfulliberation that can come with a single pair healthcare system in theinvestment N to our communities. And it's like aspecging the question. Evenat Omy Generation, we think OALIC is electorol. Politics is that's. What'sgoing to save us at the end of the day, sometimes like, obviously we're goingto use it as a tool. But if we really want these big bold stemac changes, how can we get them as quick aspossible because our communities are hurting now and continuously if wecontinue to allow for the narrative to be on like the access, rather thanreally talking about extreme wealth, an equality and who has that wealth? Ithink it's super supercritical that, like organizers, mental healthproviders and people who are engaging in like very um justice orientedservices, we need to start thinking about this. That, like we, have to beusing every single tool to m, to shift the narrative in this country to changethe United States America to be a more liberated space. So I just wanted tothrow that out there, and I appreciate both of you what you have said abouthow one it's made by design and then to. Is this a possibility in our currentpolitical framework, something that I constantly ask myself? It's somethingMadison constanly asks themselves ith...

...something we an oumagunrationconsistently talk about, because we believe that people involved in themovement changemakers. We have to think critically about every single thing,the historical implications of I, the structural implications, how it breaksdown our communities. So I appreciate Um that it feels t at there's there'sthis common knowledge between all of us and that we're in this community andwe're talking about these things and we all seem to understand hate we're stilllearning from one another. So thank you. You know I I loved Whit, you just aid,Elija and Um. I think that there has to be a change of the guardso to speak and so not even from millennials. I thinkgeneration Z is like we're not here for it, but but it's going to take kind oflike that, all of that that old punk of of our all of that systemicracial funk to like die off like I ca, there's no nice way to say it to dieand for this this next generation to be like we're not here for this Um, we wedemand change now, Um and kind, a going back to the why we can't wait. Thoseare the people that make the change it's funny, because you're right, youwait for hem to die of, but less pless. Let's be super clear. Some of what yourson will seein some of what mine is sating now is you know, maybe maybethey will die off, but then you got these sane to those those people havechildren that I mean they stand by that they believe it, and so we, I thinkthat, but I think again it is about how do we change the narrative in such away that makes sense so um so that we are and here's the other thing. I thinkwe've got to get to a place where we we hold people accountable for all thatpontificating. Nobody wants to hear that where's the work. What does thatmean? How do we change the policy? How do we change the game? So I think we go.We've got to get to that place, so h yeah. So I appreciate your sayingthat, but you know and again I agree, you know Racand crasp, all of it it allmatters. We've had a really like amazing conversation, so I just wantedto thank you all again for taking this time Um. So our big Medi last questionfor Yoall Um when it comes to our larger discussion,is you know, we've we've talked about these different systems and structuresand how they really don't like they devalue and undermine black and Brownhealth in a lot of different ways. But you know, while we're tackling theselarger systemic issues, what does individual and communal care look like? I think it's a couple of things and Iloved that we would endon this because we talk a lot in in our space aboutradical self care and what that looks like you know, and one of the thingsthat we stand. You know that our silence won't protect Er, and so youknow that's not ours. It's Adeloyed. She talks about it when she talkedabout it, and that was her coin. You KNOWO Silens, won't protect us, and youknow Um somebody that we had some interesting dialogue talks about n thenumber one that our silence won't, protect us and so part of what we dothrough radical self care is help people I their voice, and it's Ok thatits not the voice that you wanted to be, or even that you it was created to be,but that you ALD knowledge that in this moment I have a voice and that we helppeople find it. I mean that's wellness, that's radical self care and that wewemember not to stier our horces. I think that's part of it, and I think wedo that as a community quite pance and I think m, you know again go back tothe notion of radical Solt care and-...

...and I think that also means you know-care for the community. I think that that's a collective it doesn't justbelong to us, though I I I love again Dido to thefact that I love there were ending here and the concept of voice is important.So remember, I said that Um. Ninety nine percent of my caselittle is blackwomen. Most of them have experienced some kind of trauma, so m sexual orotherwise, and so the first thing to go is always their voice, Um, and sowhether that is like literally, I cannot speak about what happened to me.Um or you know I can't I could never speak up for myself to whether whetherit was two men ever again or to women ever again or to you know, people inplaces of authority ever again, because when, when I experienced that trauma,whether it was violence or if it was, you know, rape or incestor. Whatever myvoice was taken away from me, there, thereby taking my power, and so thisindividual Um care is really around. You know restoring the voice Um,helping the individual back to that that Um ultimate mental health to space you kN,W, I'm able to cope through life, stresses Um, and then that really leadsinto you know this concept of. I am because we are, and so you know I am concerned becausewe are concerned. I think it was Malcolmex who said you know when wereplace the eye with we even illness becomes wellness, and so this communalcare is is important because it stops looking at what's wrong with you. Lifewas wrong with you specifically and like what happened to you and whathappened to us and then how do we effectively deal with that in a waythat we can get to this place of radical self care and and really caringfor our people as a whole m? And so I look at you know: groups such as theBlack Panter party. They were panted to be these really inappropriate bad asses.'cause. That's been our word for this fuck cat right, but they were reallymeeting a need. They were feeding the children breakfast in the morning. Theywere exemplifying- or you know really walking in this this this method ofprotecting ourselves Um. They were educating the children, they providedyouth development work on the weekend. They were, you know doing that. Youknow this creative work and really using their voice again to advocate forwhat they needed and they weren't waiting for anybody to bring it to them.They were doing it for themselves, and so I think that this kind of thiscommunal care model is what you know our communities need. I'm not sayingthat you have to you, know tota gun t to to care for your community. You know,but you can. You know, give the cat some some eggs and bacon in the morningright. You can M, you know be that theapist who'. You know there forpeople and wave outside of just caring for their anxiety or their depression.I tell people all the time you gotta think about the bottom of maslowshierarchy of meeds right at the bottom. It's food, water, shelter, protection.All of that is at the bottom. If I don't deal with the stuff at the bottom,I'll never be able to really care for you as a whole person, and so when we think about you, knowthe violence in our communities and the prauma that individuals areexperiencing this. That is the kind of work that will start to heal instead ofputting a bandade on it. An and T en f code is th is what you were looking for.Andry and F code is which you used to diagnose and F code to GIV to theinsurance company. To say: Hey this person has the pressure less move on.It's really caring for each other. In this, this communal way,...

...yeah thin. Thank you both for answeringthat question for giving us you'r true on filtered thoughts. I think I thinkit's something that both Addison and I appreciate. I know I specificallyreally appreciate it, because I I learn so much whenever I have theseconversations specifically from this episode because well, I know a lot ofthis stuff in theory to hear it from too amazing Um strong black individualswho literally live this work. I I'm I'm grateful for it Um and I I I sort of wanted to get it backlike to you too, as human beings, not just as Um beings that care for othersum since you both are very strong advocates for a system ind, a communityand individuals that prioritized care and, while being Um specifically forblack and Brown communities and black individuals Um. How do you decompressas an advocate? Is there any tips you could give rather advocates? Of course, of course, if Yeou acomfortable answering this question, I don't want to either of you on the spot.No, I'm glad you ask, because honestly we talk about it. Often I make sure I work out. That'simportant to me. Don't call me during that time. That is my time Um and youknow one of the things that we've been doing as a collective, the team. Youknow doing doing these moments of meditation and Mindfulness, and let mejust tell you it sounds silly, but it is. It is important to learn how to bestill so that number one. I don't have to hear my voice and Ne always talksabout shutting out the noise. How do we quiet from the noise? But for me we do.You know I work out. You Know Whetheri's prayer in meditation, whichwe've talked about, that we do and we are both. You know again voracious weader O'malways reading, because I don't want. I really want to make sure my cup staysfull so that I get to give it out. So I don't want to GIV from an empty cup andso that's part of it and then here's the other thing acknowledging you knowwhat on Fridays we need to leave at twelve or we need not to come in sothat we can be still and whatever that looks like and everybody on the teamhas different needs and so f your day is nd. Maybe you don't need a day, butmaybe you do and how do we do that? And I think you know again it's aboutgiving ourselves some grace some space and acknowledging that I need to be healedin this moment, and this is the way that I do it and so nei will yield toyou sure so from a mental healthperspective. I think I've shared that I live with both anxiety and depression,and so I have to take my medicine and I have to see my theacise, that is, thatis without question Um. But in addition to that, I think my my major copingfields are definitely reading. Um Andrea has um really modeled, you knowdecompression, and so she did very long stat with the n UBECP, andthat is like Super Super Duper advocacy work like they are the model right, andso I'm sure she knows better than most people, Abot like putting this thisCapeon and having to fly into FLN Michigan or wherever there is unrest,and so for someone like her to say, Hey, stop take a day off. Um is important tome and a's become a part of my my routine, but before I met Andrea, itwas really around creativity. So an whether that was making jewellery ormaking t shirts or you know, painting or drawing or you know, coloring. It's always something aboutcolor that is Um, helps me to relax, andto calm down and then my favoriteone of all is watching trash T v, so real housewod of INSEARCH state here,Um...

...love it what I, the loving, had pibe aaller ever one oing, I'm I'm watching. I think, especially when we're talkingabout mental health and being advocatesit's so important, to listenand hear how people decompress 'cause. I feel like like how you just saidhearing how this person who's nonstop says: Stop It's it. Can it can kind ofput you in check to to take care of yourself, and so thank you both forsharing how you do that I think, especially as black women, it's reallyimportant to hear how h you are decompressing in this world anddecompressing in this work M. I think that's also important highlight- and Ialso just want to thank you, both Thoug taking the time an Bey here with UStonight. It was to me an amazing conversation. I thinkI learned a lot about the work that youall are doing fromlike from in a general perspective, but also just understanding in a deeper wayof just how mental health, and especially when it comes to race, howthey intersect. U and how at that intersection gun violences seems toalways be a symptom of that. So I hope to continue to hear about the amazingworke I'm in DC, so I hope I can connect with you on one sort of way: UmYeah. I just thank you again for being here. It was so amazing, Yall a'redoing such amazyg things I'm just like in awe. You know I hade to tell you toboth of you, this westores out Fath and our hope, and what is possible becauseyou have the pulse on what's wrong and then how do we help? I appreciate whatyou do. You are taking the mantle and sounding the alarm period. No, I Ireally appreciate it at anyany moment where you get to talk about the mentalhealth and wellness for black people. Um is important to me and so IAM. I'mgrateful poor for the space and opportunity not just to talk about it,but to also know that you know we're doing this work daily. So thank you forhaving itthank you for listening to episode. Eleven of route causes, not mygeneration PODCASS. Were we discussment to health gun violence in necessaryform with neajones and Andrea Brown from a blackmentahalpallions? Pleasejoin US next Tuesday for an episode on gun violence in the Latinex communitywhich to very special guests. insolidarity Adison Wore Elija Nicols,Nia Jones, an Andrea Brown.

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