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So often the stigma surrounding mental health issues and therapy prevents Black women from taking the step of seeing a therapist. Created by licensed psychologist, Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, this space was developed to present mental health topics in a way that feels more accessible and relevant.

For more information or to find support in your area, visit their website at www.therapyforblackgirls.com.

The Child Mind Institute is an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. Our teams work every day to deliver the highest standards of care, advance the science of the developing brain and empower parents, professionals and policymakers to support children when and where they need it most.

For more information on how to support you child during COVID-19, visit their website at www.childmind.org.

Action for Healthy Kids is an organization created to help create healthier schools by bringing all the members of a school community together and equipping them with the tools and resources they need to make change happen. The organization is currently offering numerous educational resources for parents and kids during COVID-19.

For more information and to view their resources, visit www.actionforhealthykids.org.

The Administration for Community Living was created around the fundamental principle that older adults and people of all ages with disabilities should be able to live where they choose, with the people they choose, and with the ability to participate fully in their communities.

For more information about seniors and COVID-19, visit their website at www.acl.gov.

Dear Ujima, Inc. Community,

The past few weeks have been a huge challenge for our entire community. Even though our entire team continues to work remotely, our mission to support the Black community remains consistent. As information about COVID-19 continues to develop, we will provide you with timely updates on resources and assistance.

Updated Precautionary Measure for Our Staff

Our management team and staff continue to promote social distancing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Ujima staff will work remotely through Friday, May 1, 2020. Please note, that our remote date may be extended based on the recommendations presented by our local government. We are still available to answer any questions, concerns, or requests. If you need to contact one of our staff members, please e-mail us at ujimainfo@ujimacommunity.org.

Ujima, Inc. Outreach and Community Awareness

As a national resource center, it is important that we provide culturally relevant information that supports you! Ujima, Inc. has launched it’s COVID-19 Resource page, located on our website at www.ujimacommunity.org/covid-19. This page will include updates and resources for our community during this difficult time. This page will be updated as new information becomes available.

In addition to the resources provided on our website, please continue to:

  • Follow the guidelines and recommendations set by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • If you are able to stay home, please do so and remember to practice social distancing when necessary.
  • Continue to wash your hands with soap and warm water as often as possible and keep your hands away from your face.
  • Lastly, if you are feeling sick, please stay home and contact your doctor for assistance.

We understand how much this “new normal” has disrupted our daily lives, but keep in mind this is not permanent. By following the recommendations of federal, state, and local governmental agencies, we as a community can help “flatten the curve” and save lives. We will continue to monitor the situation and send updates as they become available.

Take care,

Karma Cottman
Executive Director, Ujima, Inc.

 

Additional Resources

Ujima, Inc.
Centers for Disease Control
National Institute of Health
World Health Organization
Do’s and Don’t of Social Distancing

Dear Ujima, Inc. Community,

As many of you know, the world and our community have been rocked by the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As information about the outbreak continues to develop, we want to provide you with updates around what we are doing to support the community and our team.

Precautionary Measure for Our Staff
In an effort to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, we have implemented our telework policy. Starting Monday, March 16 – Friday, March 27 our entire Ujima staff will be working from home. While no one on our staff has shown symptoms of the virus, our office will be going through a deep clean as a precaution. We are still available to answer any questions, concerns or requests. If you need to contact one of our staff members, please e-mail us at ujimainfo@ujimacommunity.org.

Ujima, Inc. Outreach and Community Awareness
Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of the community that we serve. As a national resource center, it is our responsibility to provide some support that may help lessen much of the anxiety we know many of you are feeling around the pandemic and the flood of information being provided.

The first step is to make sure you are following the guidelines and recommendations set by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). If you are able to stay home, please do so and remember to practice social distancing when necessary. Continue to wash your hands with soap and warm water when you can and keep your hands away from your face. Lastly, if you are feeling sick, please stay home and contact your doctor for assistance.

We understand how challenging these times can be for everyone. As new details come available, we ask that you remain aware and continue to follow the recommendations set by our federal agencies and local governments. We will continue to monitor the situation and send updates about Ujima, Inc. when they become available.

Take care,

Karma Cottman
Executive Director, Ujima, Inc.

Additional Resources
Ujima, Inc.
Centers for Disease Control
National Institute of Health
World Health Organization
Do’s and Don’t of Social Distancing

For the second year in a row, Ujima, Inc. hosted its Domestic Violence Awareness Month Op-ed Writer’s Workshop. On Saturday, October 5, 2019, in partnership with the Georgetown University Law Fellowship program, Ujima, Inc. continued its work around domestic violence by hosting a workshop that would engage the community and provide best practices on how to write an op-ed for a newspaper, magazine or blog.

Facilitated by Ujima’s very own LisaLyn Jacobs, the workshop explored the importance of op-eds, how to successfully write one and how to pitch your op-ed to editors.

A brand new event for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Ujima, Inc. hosted its first Coffee & Conversation: Black Maternal Health at Busboys and Poets in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, DC on Monday, October 14, 2019. Moderated by Megan Simmons, Senior Policy Attorney for Ujima, Inc., the panel discussion provided insight into the intersection of violence and Black maternal health. The conversation centered on violence, bias, and preventable deaths experienced by Black women throughout the duration of their pregnancies.

Panelists for the event included:

  • Jamila Perritt, MD, MPH, FACOG
  • Jessica Pinckney, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, Vice President of Government Affairs

Dr. Perritt shared practical experiences and how her medical care is guided by trauma informed skills. Ms. Pinkney offered her knowledge on policy implications on Black women’s maternal health, as well as policy recommendations to improve outcomes going forward. Dr. Perritt and Ms. Pinkney, both activists and advocates, often work together to educate others on reproductive justice.

Both women shared their personal experiences on how they arrived at incorporating reproductive justice into their professional lives.

If you missed the event, click here to view the entire discussion on our Facebook page.

Ujima, Inc.: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community was thrilled to present two Issue Forums at the 2019 Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference. On Thursday, September 12, 2019, we held our first panel, What We Need Is Love: Preventing Sexual and Dating Violence on HBCU Campuses. Moderated by award winning actress Tanya Wright, the panel explored issues around sexual and dating violence on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Panelists included:

  • Tricia Bent-Goodley, Director of the Howard University Interpersonal Violence Prevention Program and Chair/Director of the University’s Women’s Leadership Initiative
  • Candy Young, Title IX Coordinator, Delaware State University
  • Darlene Johnson, Associate Director, Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Megan Simmons, Sr. Policy Attorney, Ujima, Inc.: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community

On Friday, September 13, 2019, we held our second panel, The Untold Story: Trafficking in the Black Community. Also moderated by award winning actress Tanya Wright, the panel took an in-depth look at human trafficking and why Black women and girls are trafficked at a higher rate. Panelist included:

  • Austen Williams, Human Trafficking Advocate and President, The Culture Catalyst
  • Tanisha Murden, Human Trafficking Survivor
  • Gretta Gardner, Deputy Director, Ujima, Inc.: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community
  • Dr. Monique Howard, Executive Director, WOAR-Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence

In addition to events hosted by Ujima, Inc., our Executive Director, Karma Cottman served as a panelist at the “You Matter to Me: Domestic Violence and Strategic Community Alliances” discussion. The panel was a part of the “S.M.E. (Show Me Everything) Speaker Series,” hosted by Reverend Janelle Johnson of Reid Temple AME Church in Glendale, Maryland.

As we prepare for the holiday season, Ujima, Inc.: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community, is dedicating the month of November to discussing Black Mental Health. In many traditions, the coming days and weeks entail joyous, festive, and celebratory rituals that center gratitude, charity, and community. However, this time of year presents new challenges, pressures, and expectations that can make the holiday season overwhelming and stressful. In our commitment to uplifting our community, we want to prioritize and discuss mental wellness as we immerse ourselves in daylight savings time and the colder winter months.

Although African Americans make up roughly 12% of the U.S. population, they comprise approximately 18.7% of those affected by mental illness. African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general U.S. population. Some scholars have identified racism-specific stress and coping responses to include, but not limited to anger, paranoia, anxiety, helplessness, hopelessness, frustration, resentment, and fear for African Americans. Moreover, symptoms of depression and anxiety show up differently within and across racial/ethnic groups that speak directly to historical trauma from diverse lived experiences. For example, research has shown that Black women in America experience chronic anxiety and more intense symptoms than other races. A new groundbreaking study reveals that the pressure of holding everything down as a “strong Black woman” places immense stress and pressure that can increase the risk of depression among Black woman. This pressure can reach even higher levels during the holiday season.

The American Psychological Association notes that “holiday-related stress and the ‘holiday blues’—feelings of disappointment, sadness, fatigue or frustration—are not unusual” during this time of year. The Holiday Blues are often temporary, but for those suffering from mental illnesses, the holidays can be immensely stressful and emotionally taxing. Whether you are worried about purchasing gifts for family and friends or bracing to celebrate the season without a loved one who recently passed, this time of year can trigger a range of negative and positive emotions. The psychological toll of the holidays can result in adverse health outcomes that impact one’s overall wellness beyond the season.

Despite the clear need for mental health care that addresses the multitude of stressors Black Americans face on a daily basis, racial disparities persist when it comes to access. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health reports that only 8.7% of Non-Hispanic Black adults, compared to 18.6% of Non-Hispanic White adults, received mental health services in 2018. These disparities exist due to several barriers to prevention and intervention such as, social stigma, distrust of the health care system, lack of cultural humility and diversity among providers, and lack of health insurance.

Now more than ever, it is crucial that Black Mental Health is central to our efforts to promote wellness for our community. As the holidays approach, there are several things that we can do to help navigate the highs and lows of this season, including seeking professional help and identifying other community resources that cater to our needs. Dr. Joy Harden-Bradford, a Licensed Psychologist, author, media contributor and host of the “Therapy for Black Girls” podcast, is one of several remarkable Black women encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls. She shares the following tips on steadying yourself for the holiday season that we encourage you to consider:

  1. Be realistic about your budget.
    • Don’t feel pressure to overspend on gifts for friends or loved ones this year. Instead, think of gifts that do not have a specific monetary value attached such as babysitting or curating a music playlist.
    • Plan to set aside some money for gifts to avoid financial stress.
  2. Create new traditions and reexamine old ones.
    • If you can’t be with your family this year for Thanksgiving, consider spending time with friends and having a Friendsgiving instead.
  1. Make a game plan for dealing with the loss of a loved one.
    • Reimagine what holiday traditions might look like without your loved one’s physical presence this year.
    • Don’t avoid the holidays after experiencing the loss of a loved one. It may not be as a joyous occasion, but you will be able to tolerate the pain and push through.
    • Plan ahead to avoid panic.
  1. Set and stick to your boundaries.
    • Recognize that you cannot do everything and that it is okay to say “no” sometimes.
  1. Build some downtime into your schedule just for yourself.
    • This could simply entail heading back home a few days earlier before you have to head back to work or school, going on a solo vacation or planning a staycation.
  1. Allow yourself space to feel whatever you feel.
    • Let go of the unrealistic expectation that you have to feel endless happiness and excitement during the holidays. It is okay to feel sad or worried in light of what is happening in your life.

Finally, let’s acknowledge the fact that spending time with family is not so joyous for some people. For those who find family functions difficult to maneuver, just know that you can pick your family. And if spending time with your family is harmful, stressful and traumatic, choose what make you feel safe. If you need help unpacking these feelings, seek assistance.

CHANGE THEIR WORLD. CHANGE YOURS. THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response

As we learn about COVID-19 resources and services available, we will be sharing them here.