State of Mind with Debra Sloss
State of Mind with Debra Sloss
Racism & Mental Health: One Year Later

Episode #36: This show is a follow-up to a two-part series we produced in 2020 that examined the effects of racism on mental health. Now after more than a year of race-related protests, social and political unrest and many social change efforts, we reconvene to discuss the progress we’ve made and haven’t made in undoing racism. Our guests are back to talk about what has changed for them personally, what changes they’ve seen systemically and what work now needs to happen in order to create communities that support mental health and well– being for people of color. Guest- host Gail Borkowski welcomes back Black community members: activist Joy Flynn, psychologist Dr. Robert Bartee, and educator activist Jason Seals. We hear about how they have been impacted by the events of the last year, including the sentencing of the officer responsible for the murder of  George Floyd, the presidential election, the insurrection at the US Capitol, and the vandalism of the Black Lives Matter mural in Santa Cruz. Guests discuss what they see happening in our communities, the changes they’d like to see and helpful resources. This show encourages us all to listen deeply in order to grasp the impacts of racism on our fellow humans and to take personal actions to dismantle racism and build communities that support health and well– being for Blacks and people of color. This is Part 3 of a series on Racism & Mental Health. You may also want to check out: Part 1- episode 24 on “The Effects” & Part 2 – episode 25 on “Improving Access.”

Broadcast: 11/7/21

Special thanks  to Jeanne Baldzikowski for audio production, to Jennifer Young for research and outreach, and to Izzy Weisz for marketing and social media. And thanks to acoustic guitarist Adrian Legg for composing, performing and donating the use of our theme music.

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The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee – One of today’s most insightful and influential thinkers offers a powerful exploration of inequality and the lesson that generations of Americans have failed to learn: Racism has a cost for everyone—not just for people of color.

Black Fatigue: How Racism Racism Erodes the Mind, Body, and Spirit  (2020) by Mary–Frances Winters – Defines and explores Black fatigue, the intergenerational impact of systemic racism on the physical and psychological health of Black people – and explains why and how society needs to collectively do more to combat its pernicious effects.

Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer Eberhardt, PhD – With a perspective that is scientific, investigative, and informed by personal experience, Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt offers the language and courage to face one of the biggest and most troubling issues of our time. She exposes racial bias at all levels of society—our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and criminal justice system—and offers us tools to address it.

The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health: Navigate an Unequal System, Learn Tools for Emotional Wellness, and Get the Help you Deserve (2020) by Rheeda Walker – An unapologetic exploration of the Black mental health crisis and a comprehensive road map to getting the care you deserve in an unequal system.

Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619– 2019 by Ibram X. Kendi & Keisha N. Blain – A chorus of extraordinary voices tells the epic story of the four-hundred-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present — edited by Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, and Keisha N. Blain, author of Set the World on Fire.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson – Examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.

100 Years of Lynchings (1988) by Ralph Ginzberg – Compilation of vivid newspaper accounts from 1886 to 1960 to provide insight and understanding of the history of racial violence.

Self– Healing Power and Therapy: Old Teachings from Africa (2014) by Kimbwandende Fu-Kiau – Presents a revolutionary thesis that combines centuries-old Black African medical practices with the principles of contemporary medicine.

Speak For Change with Thomas Sage Pedersen Their mission is to inspire and promote positive and lasting change in our local & global communities.

Dear White Women – Talking about race doesn’t have to be scary. While our society’s history with race is indeed a complex issue, it is absolutely possible for more (White) people to meaningfully engage with stories, history, and actions and be involved in building a more equitable society.

Code Switch – Fearless conversations about race. Hosted by journalists of color, this podcast tackles the subject of race with empathy and humor. Explores how race affects every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, food and everything in between. This podcast makes all of us part of the conversation — because we’re all part of the story.

Social Media
Shereen Daniels, The HR Conversationalist on LinkedIn. A specialist in anti- racism in business.

What Is Black Twitter and How Is it Changing the National Conversation? – Baylor University’s Mia Moody– Ramirez, Ph.D., professor of journalism, public relations and new media, explains Black Twitter and how it is changing the national conversation. Feb. 19, 2019.

Mental Health Resources
Therapy for Black Girls – Podcast, online community, BPOC therapist referral source

AAKOMA – Offers free mental health services for teens and young adults (up to 5 free virtual sessions) and provides mental health information that supports teens and young adults of color and their families and communities.

BEAM (Black Emotional and Mental Health) – BEAM is collective of advocates, yoga teachers, artists, therapists, lawyers, religious leaders, teachers, psychologists and activists committed to the emotional/mental health and healing of Black communities. Website provides resources (graphics, videos, and toolkits) designed to be shared for educational purposes.

Resources for Parents of Young Children
Coming Together: Talking to Children about Race, Ethnicity, and CultureComing Together is Sesame Workshop’s commitment to racial justice. “We believe in a world where all children can reach their full potential and humanity—and do so in celebration of their races, ethnicities, and cultures. Together with experts, we’ve designed developmentally appropriate resources to help you guide your child to be smarter, stronger, and kinder—and an upstander to racism.”

Woke Kindergarten – A series of short videos. Early learning on YouTube. Liberation is the goal. Abolition is the journey. All Power to the Little People!

Here’s What Matters To Me, The Mother Of Your Child’s Black Friend – Article with sound guidance for parents.

PBS Talks about Race and Racism – Video hosted by inaugural National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman. The show looks at race and racial justice–related topics in an age–appropriate way and offers viewers ideas to build on as they continue these important conversations at home.

Talking to Kids About Racism and ViolenceArticle supporting children while navigating your own big emotions.

Racial Justice
Psychological Association Apologizes for Contributing to Systemic Racism  
by Nicole Chavez / CNN / Mon November 1, 2021 – News article The about the country’s leading scientific and professional psychology organization issuing a formal apology to communities of color for hurting them by contributing to systemic racism.

Seseme Street’s Coming Together: The ABC’s of Racial Literacy – Kids need a strong individual and group identity, but racism hurts the healthy development of both. Racism hurts our entire society. Whether you and the children in your care are directly affected by racism or you’re allies of those who are, engaging honestly and directly with little ones is the beginning of building racial literacy (the skills needed to talk thoughtfully about race and to identify and respond to racism). Here are resources to develop children’s understanding, curiosity, resilience, and empathy—and to prepare for the task of building a better world by standing up, standing tall, and standing together.

Southern Poverty Law Center – A catalyst and leading organization for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people.

Unlearning Racism Training Guide by Jason Seals and Selena Wilson – A multi-media training guide co-authored by our show guest. This series explores the ways in which developing an African-centered approach to behavioral health, in all areas of this field, can best serve people of African ancestry, while honoring their experience, dignity, and humanity.

Local Services that Support Well– being of Black– Identified People
Black Owned Santa Cruz – Provides a directory of Black– owned businesses in Santa Cruz County. This directory is provided at no cost to our community and local businesses. Thriving businesses support healthy communities!

Black Health Matters – A community wellness initiative from the Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center in partnership with County Park Friends and other local partners to bring safe, engaging and COVID-mindful outdoor activities to Black community members of Santa Cruz County.  Created by local Black leaders, examples include: Self-Care Saturday, Black Family (Virtual) Barbeque, pop-up dance, mindfulness and fitness classes in County Parks.

To Know My Name: A Chronological History of African Americans in Santa Cruz County
By Phil Reader  Presented by Santa Cruz Libraries, these 21 pages are informative to all county residents and, of course, include London Nelson, [a.k.a Louden Nelson] an ex– slave from Tennessee, that left his entire estate “to the children of Santa Cruz.”

Resource Center for NonViolence –  An education, training, and community center serving people from all racial and ethnic communities. We connect ourselves to histories of resistance and current struggles around the US and the world. Offering Book Circles, Workshops and more.

Community Bridges – Ten programs deliver essential services, provide equitable access to resources, and advocate for health and dignity across every stage of life.  Community Bridges actively works to remove barriers of inequality in our community.  Free bilingual counseling services at their four Family Resource Centers (via phone or video during the pandemic). Make an appointment with one of their bilingual counselors at 831– 246– 6360. Printable flyers for their counseling program in English and Spanish.

Contact Show Guests
Joy Flynn / Assemble with Joy – Providing Conversation Facilitation, Consulting & Anti-bias course curriculum creation and implementation.
Email:, Instagram: assemblewithjoy

Jason Seals / Jason Seals & Associates, LLC – Bay Area Consulting Firm that partners with organizations to create healing spaces to catalyze and sustain personal, organizational and social transformation. Email: