Celebrating Black History Month is a Form of Mental Health

Focusing on Black history is a way of remembering what used to be that has led us to who we are and where we are in the here and now. We will never go back to the way things were and things will never be the same as they were. Reflecting on the past and our ancestors gives us inspiration. History matters.

History is real. Attempts to erase the past are a distortion of reality, which is the opposite of mental health. We cannot allow ourselves to be gaslit about Black history by people who wish to sweep the painful past under the rug. We must dissect and analyze the past in order to understand it better and not revisit previous mistakes. If we don’t remember and heed our history, we will be doomed to repeat it.

We must continue to stay grounded in reality in order to adapt to change and cope with stress effectively. This is a critical aspect of the history of Black people in the United States and contributes to our ability to endure intergenerational trauma and epigenetics in which history is mapped onto our DNA. This is where reality and the environment that surrounds us collide and have their human impact.

In order to have a positive Black future and to go forward and grow, we need to have an honest look in the rearview mirror and see Black history for what it is. We cannot allow the denial of history and be vigilant to disrupt attempts to disavow Black history which remains a critical element of American history.

Since the struggle continues, we need young people to be agents of change through civic engagement as we chart the path toward the future. Young people must be a part of the equation and a part of the solution. Encourage young people to exercise their democratic rights to peaceful assembly, to make their voices heard, to protest injustice, to write letters, to vote, and to help others to vote. Creating new avenues for civic engagement will facilitate our active involvement in our own survival and thriving. These are all critical ingredients in the recipe for mental health, a positive future, and a meaningful and purpose-driven Black History Month in 2024!