An article from U.S. News and World Report stated that “being Black is bad for your health.” If that’s not bad enough, racism and police brutality highlight the daily threats Black people face when doing everyday things like sleeping (Breonna Taylor), shopping (George Floyd), or jogging (Ahmaud Arbery). The world debates the significance of our lives, bodies, and right to wellness and self-care. The situation has evolved to a crucial point.
Over the last few years, conversations around mental health within the Black community have taken on new meaning. Studies show that since the pandemic, 48 percent of Black adults were more likely to report symptoms of anxiety and depression. Finding the right support can be a challenge. However, some apps make it easier than ever. We can have the benefits of mindful practices and therapy right at our fingertips.
There are plenty of good reasons to start incorporating a wellness routine into your day. It can keep you focused on the present moment, manage stress and anxiety, and decrease negative thoughts, just to name a few. Here’s a collection of Black-owned wellness apps to keep you calm and centered, no matter what life brings your way.
I found the Shine app at the start of the pandemic. It proved to be a life saver. It kept me company on my morning walks. It’s a daily self-care app that helps people “rest, heal, and grow through difficulty.” Founded by Marah Lidey and Naomi Hirabayashi, the app provides an introduction to the idea of meditation as it serves as a guide to mindfulness for your everyday life. Lifting your spirits, worrying less, and sleeping soundly is what Shine is all about.
One of my favorite aspects of this app is that it teaches breathing techniques, how to follow you’re breathing, and different ways to meditate. It includes daily meditations, weekly courses, and virtual workshops.
This digital platform provides people from marginalized communities access to therapy by matching them with licensed therapists “who share their cultural traits, identities, and experiences and enable them to communicate virtually.” New users take a questionnaire that helps ensure the best matches. Founder and CEO Eric Coly saw a rising concern with mental health in the corporate space — companies, universities, and non-profits. Ayana Therapy offers services for families, couples, and groups.
This app provides meditations and discussions, specially designed with the Black experience in mind. The wellness studio helps develop daily meditation habits that will lead to a better mental state. It’s “meditation for us, by us.” Liberate is not only just a meditation app, but it is a safe space for the Black community to get in the habit of participating in daily meditation.
Creator Julio Rivera produced this app after discovering meditation as an outlet at the peak of his career. This mediation journey aims to support the realities of being Black in the modern day, aided by a carefully-curated library filled with over 200 topics. Each topic is led by a Black teacher who represents a wide range of experiences and heritage in their practice. It truly is a space to feel safe and receive the benefits of meditation.
Alkeme is a new healthcare and wellness system dedicated to the Black community. Alkeme intends to take agency over its health outcomes, starting with mental health as one of the community’s more pressing needs. The platform features a catalog of live-stream and on-demand content consisting of mental wellbeing techniques, guided meditation sessions, and practices hosted by mental health practitioners trained to meet the unique needs of their Black audience.
To cope with the recent occurrences of racial injustice, Katara McCarty created Exhale. Exhale is an emotional well-being app designed for all women of color. This app provides time to exhale by releasing everything that is no longer serving you and replacing it with what the app calls “soul medicine.” Soul medicine refers to medicine for the depths of your soul which include: positive energy, healing, and love. As women of color, there are systems of oppression every day that cause hurt to our souls, bodies, and minds. This app’s intent is to serve as refuge and healing.
As the world begins to take more notice of ways to affect real change in current systems of racism and injustice, a good start is to use the resources that are becoming available to support access to safe spaces. Black people deserve safe spaces to nurture their wellbeing and healing. Also, to have open conversations about experiences that are unique to us. Hopefully, utilizing these apps will have an impact on the wellness of not only Black people in general but also their families and communities, to begin to close the gap in health outcomes that exists.
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Archuleta is an author, poet, blogger, and host of the FearlessINK podcast. Archuleta's work centers Black women, mental health and wellness, and inspiring people to live their fullest potential.