In recent years, more attention has been given to supporting people of color and minority groups across the country. From major organizations like Black Lives Matter to smaller localized initiatives, awareness is growing.
However, many POC still face challenges and disparities in our country. Sometimes, these issues arise because non-minority groups aren’t aware of how they can help.
If you’re a person of color, it’s okay to reach out for the support you need and deserve. It’s a form of self-care that is the opposite of selfish. Still, you might not think it’s easy to reach out and ask for help on your own when you’re not sure where to look or how to get started.
Let’s cover a few of the “basics” so you can have an easier time finding and utilizing support.
Consider Your Needs
The first step in reaching out for support is to consider and decide what it is you really need right now. Understanding your needs will make it easier to determine who you should reach out to.
For example, do you need more time off at work? Are you struggling with diversity issues in the office? Do you feel you’re being treated unfairly or even discriminated against? If so, it could be time to talk to your employer.
Are you struggling with societal issues? Consider joining a POC community group, healing circle, or group therapy.
If you need consistent support and you’re anxious about the state of the world or personal issues, therapy might be the best option.
The more willing you are to look at your specific needs, the easier it will be to find the right type of support.
Accept and Listen to Your Emotions
Emotions will always demand to be felt. You might try to push them down, but the sooner you accept them, the sooner you can start to work through them.
Whether you’re feeling a lack of support at work or in your social life, it’s important to recognize that you deserve help. That includes having someone to talk to.
Accepting your emotions can also help to strengthen your resolve. When you spend so much time trying to ignore what you’re feeling, you’re less likely to seek help, even if there are deeper, underlying causes for your distressing emotions.
Become an Advocate
Another benefit to embracing your feelings is that it can change your mindset. When you try to downplay any of the struggles you’re facing, it’s easy to look at life from a perspective of hopelessness.
As you accept your emotions and learn how to work through them, you can be an advocate for other POC.
Making your mental and physical well-being a priority can encourage you to help others to do the same. When you’re ready to “step out” and become an advocate, it’s important to know where to turn and who you can lean on for continued support. Community groups, counselors, and therapists are all still important, even when you’re trying to help other minorities.
Know Your Resources
One of the best things you can do to find support is to research. Find local groups in your community to connect with. If you feel you need support and don’t know where to turn, chances are others have been in the same position. You might discover groups or organizations you didn’t know existed.
It’s also a good idea to use your online resources. If you can’t find anything locally, join message boards and forums, or consider telehealth with a therapist or counselor who understands you and can give you the support you deserve.
Most important, recognize that you’re not alone. Now is a perfect time to reach out for support, and give your well-being the attention it deserves.
About the Author
Roma Williams is a Houston-based licensed marriage and family therapist, who is also licensed in the states of Georgia, Florida, and California. Her specialties and clinical interests are systems and relationships. Roma enjoys working with couples, including LGBTQ+ and those who live in polyamorous relationships. As an African American woman, Roma has donated time and efforts to causes championing black women and mental health. Roma also enjoys working with individuals on their relationships with themselves and others. Being a California native, and moving to the south in her adult years, Roma has had plenty of experiences that have shaped her cultural development both professionally and personally. In her spare time, Roma enjoys fashion, all things wine, and traveling.
If you are in Houston or in any part of Texas, Georgia, Florida, or California and are ready to work with Roma click here.