At Peace of Time Wellness, we recognize the long history of social injustices of the Black community in the United States. The current state of the world can feel overwhelming for many people, almost as if two pandemics are taking place at the same time, which is one of the reasons we are speaking up for all who have been and are still affected by current events. We stand against racial injustices and will continue to push this conversation forward by advocating for, educating and serving all people, despite race, skin color, sex, religion, or national origin within the Pittsburgh community.
What is a social worker's purpose?
Our social workers at Peace of Time Counseling practice the NASW Code of Ethics, which lends an ethical obligation to speak up for marginalized and oppressed populations. As per the NASW, "The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty."
Unarmed African Americans are increasingly the victims of police brutality in the United States, with the most recent worldwide outrage and grief resulting from the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, among many others. We acknowledge that these cases are just the few we are able to hear about through the media, and that acts of racism and oppression are a daily occurrence for non-White individuals. Racial discrimination is also deeply embedded within our country's systems, policies and institutions; COVID-19's disproportionate impact on under-served Black populations is just one example of this. Peace of Time hopes to not only raise awareness for these injustices, but to also take action by providing resources and education for the Pittsburgh community.
It is important that we strive to understand and learn about the ways in which racism can impact one's mental health. According the The Depression Project, racial discrimination can often lead to feeling disconnected or lonely, decreased hope (in the government, for justice, in the future, etc.), increased risk for depression and anxiety, increased "survival mode" instincts, and trauma. Trauma in the context of racism can result from present events/instances as well as triggering past experiences and/or generational trauma.
If you are interested in learning more about the current racial crisis in the United States and how NASW/the Social Work field is responding locally and nationally, check out the links below:
One way that you can help the Black community in these tumultuous times is by supporting Black-owned businesses. The Pittsburgh community is very lucky to have a variety of food options that are Black-owned, many of which are currently offering delivery options due to COVID-19! This list provides 52 different food businesses in Western and Central PA: https://www.paeats.com/feature/black-owned-food-businesses-in-central-western-pennsylvania/
Lastly, we wanted to shed light on a local organization that is working hard to "bridge the gap between Black community members and mental health support through education, advocacy and awareness." Steel Smiling facilitates therapeutic street conversations that help to develop human-centered education and training for community leaders and practitioners. They are currently taking donations for The Black Mental Health Fund, which will go towards serving the mental health needs of Black people. More information about Steel Smiling and their fundraiser can be found at https://www.steelsmilingpgh.org/.
Until next time, we hope you are safe and able to find peace during these challenging times.