Behavioral Health and Race Based Trauma

Resources for Coping with Race-Based Trauma and Anti-Racist Resources

Racial discrimination damages individuals, hurts health (physical and behavioral) and shortens lives. Research on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) has evolved to include racism and social determinants, known as the “Pair of Aces”, and has been linked to shortened life spans as a result of decreased physical, mental and emotional wellness. Racial trauma impacts the behavioral health of victims and witnesses, individuals, and entire communities.

SAMHSA’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity notes, and we affirm: “The burden of being a person of color in America includes the stress from the anticipation of violence in everyday life; diminished access to good health care and education; and, more broadly, socioeconomic differences that might not exist if the individuals were not targeted, marginalized and deprived of the tools to make their lives better.”

DBHDS Division of Community Services Statement on Racism, Race-Based Trauma, and Behavioral Health 
We must be committed to dismantling racial injustice and other oppressive systems; as an agency, we have both internal responsibilities to address systemic racism, as well external responsibilities to provide funding and oversight for behavioral health services across Virginia. Structural racism limits the mental health, safety, health, educational, and other opportunities of Black people and people of color we serve, and how they participate in and receive services that are part of our organization and systems that our organization touches. It is our aim that the resources provided below serve as one tool in our fight against racial injustice. Specifically, this toolkit provides resources related to coping with race-based trauma and other anti-racist materials.
Black Lives Matter.

Virginia DBHDS Mental Health Toolkit: Resources to cope with race-based trauma and address mental wellness
This is a PDF version of a resources for coping with race-based trauma, tools to identify behavioral healthcare providers with expertise in Black mental health and other cultural competencies, ways to access free or low cost support, mobile applications designed for Black People, Indigenous People, and People of Color, and other resources. The content of the PDF are listed here as well:

  • Inclusive Therapists will match you with a therapist, including those offering reduced-fee teletherapy. The organization is known for being inclusive, offering services for racial trauma and connecting people of all identities, abilities, and bodies with culturally sensitive care. Most therapists offer reduced-fee teletherapy.
  • Melanin & Mental Health is a website run by two Black therapists devoted to providing a directory of culturally-competent therapists, a podcast, and other resources.
  • The Liberate app offers meditations and talks “designed for the BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and People of Color] experience.” It facilitates healing via “naming and offering resources for common cultural experiences, like micro-aggressions.” Monthly and annual subscriptions are available for $9.99 and $71.99. Financial assistance is available for those who need it. Available on the Apple Store and Google Play.
  • BUFU Collective holds virtual candlelight vigils each Sunday in order to create a space to grieve lives lost to COVID and state violence.
  • Sista Afya, a Chicago-based mental health organization, offers a free online support group for black women.
  • Solar Flux facilitates virtual breathwork sessions “for Black people looking for emotional release, co-regulation, & embodied healing.”
  • Therapy for Black Girls, an organization devoted to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls, provides various resources. One podcast episode (session 46) highlights various tips for activists & delve into specific mental health needs of protestors. They also host a private community Facebook support group. Free support sessions take place on Thursday nights at 7:00pm EST.
  • The Association of Black Psychologists have produced a 26-page toolkit outlining information about the effects of racism and race-based trauma on the body & mind.
  • SELF compiled its own list of 44 mental health resources for Black people.
  • The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation’s vision is to eradicate stigma around mental health issues in the Black community. The Foundation is also offering free COVID-19 virtual therapy.
  • The Nap Ministry “facilitates immersive workshops and curate performance art that examines rest as a radical tool for community healing.”
  • Sharing Hope is an hour-long presentation that can help increase mental health awareness in African-American communities by addressing a number of important topics.
  • Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM) is a nonprofit collective “committed to the emotional/mental health and healing of Black communities.” The website provides resources related to wellness, emotional regulation, and coping skills.
  • Black Women’s Health Imperative was founded to “help protect and advance the health and wellness of Black women and girls.”
  • The POC Online Classroom provides readings and other materials related to self-care.
  • The Safe Place app is designed to reach black users with information about mental health and self-care resources. Available for free download on the Apple Store & Google Play.
  • When searching for a culturally competent therapist, try the following directories:
    • Association of Black Psychologists
    • LGBTQ Psychotherapists of Color
    • National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network
    • Psychology Today Directory of African American Therapists
  • You can also find helpful resources in another racial trauma toolkit provided here.

Anti-racist Resources

Education Materials

Activist Resources


This is intended to be a linkage to potential resources. The views and opinions from outside agencies do not necessarily represent the views, opinions and/or policies of DBHDS and this does not indicate a direct endorsement of specific agencies or programs by DBHDS.