BLANCK MAGAZINE ( THE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE) Blanck Lite- THE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE - Page 22

Some black folk are reluctant to engage with services due to a lack of trust in the system and an understanding, whether real or imag- ined, that the services available are not de- signed for us and cannot accommodate our specific cultural needs. the amplified narrative that you are ugly, un- desirable, unwanted, loud and rude? (Don’t get me wrong! We’ve navigated through the vola- tile terrains of superficial Social Media spaces by generating our own hashtags; Black Girls Rock and Black Girl Magic, but it is always ap- parent that these creations are reactionary. A resistance to the systematic devaluation of black women) When coupled the generational trauma passed down by the effects of colonial- ism on our parent’s generations colonial bond- age but the centuries of systematic oppression and brutality, how do you think seeing video after video of young men who look like your sons, brothers and cousins being mercilessly beaten and murdered by white uniformed in- ternational gangs known as Police departments or worse still by people who look exactly like them will effect ones mental health? I’m grateful that God sent His angels to carry this family member as he soared through the air towards the concrete ground landing with only minor scrapes and bruises. How else can I explain how he was taken to hospital with his physical health unscathed from the fall. His mental health, however, glared at us like an explicitly gruesome and offensively open gash exposed for us all to observe. He was sectioned immediately after being discharged from hos- pital, at which point I was able to speak to fi- nally speak to him. I can’t remember what I asked for him to pour his heart out to me on the phone, but it flooded out as if his words in- 22 / BLANCKLITE / OCT 2018 / www.blanckdigital.com tended to drown me in their heartache. He was trying to confess, somehow. All I remember say- ing was that I couldn’t care less what he felt he’d done wrong in the past or whatever life; none of that mattered. What mattered to me was that we have cultivated a society in which a beautiful, black man would rather throw himself out of a window than talk his pain? As the family members left the room, in the Psychiatric Hospital, I sat next to him. Heavily medicated he’d become an unpredictable and unfamiliar zombie, but when everyone left the room and it was just the two of us, he transmog- rified into his normal self. He was present again and his eyes reminded me of those of a lost child as he asked me the next most difficult question: ‘Why is this happening to me?’ I put this question to you and ask us all to take responsibility for our brothers and sisters: why is this happening to us and how can we take steps to improve it? My thoughts are that it starts within and it starts with us. Let’s cultivate safe spaces to discuss mental health, let’s reflect on our own healing and self-improvement, let’s talk, let’s seek help, let’s not feel afraid to say, ‘Yes we are indeed magic, but we are also human.’ Follow Sheila Nortley on IG @sheilanortley