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“As African Americans, we take pride in our strength to withstand the stress of everyday life coupled with racism and other forms of oppression. However, pushing through the pain and stress is literally killing us. Rheeda Walker has delivered a much-needed gift in The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health. Walker’s practical guidecenters on the lives and experiences of Black people to identify, understand, and provide language for our experiences with mental distress and pathways to emotional well-being. It is rare that I would recommend a book to parents, families, and mental health professionals alike. However, this is one such book. Walker translates research and best practices into an engaging and culturally informed style. This is a must-read for anyone interested in embracing hope and living one’s best life.”
—Helen A. Neville, PhD, professor in the department of educational psychology and African American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; past president of the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race (APA, Division 45); and director of the Race-Advocacy-Civic Engagement (RACE) Lab
“In engaging and accessible prose, Rheeda Walker has created a vivid and forceful account of the experience of—to use her phrasing—living while Black, and of the sources of the psychological fortitude needed to sustain and develop self, family, and community. The concept of psychological fortitude is key to her ideas, and I believe that readers will find the concept both profound and useful in day-to-day life.”
—Thomas Joiner, PhD, Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of psychology at Florida State University, and author of Mindlessness
The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health provides the actual, necessary tools to look out for your wellness. That insight is provided in a voice that our community—young or old, woman or man—can understand and embrace. Rheeda Walker’s work is right on time.”
—Victoria Uwumarogie, deputy editor of the leading Black women’s lifestyle site, www.madamenoire.com
“The transparency, expertise, and compassion that Rheeda Walker uses to navigate readers through a space in the mental health industry that has gone ignored by society is going to create emotional freedom and growth for generations to come. This is a brilliant and life-changing read that everyone should put on the top of their priorities list.”
—Devi Brown, wellness expert, and author of Crystal Bliss
“In The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health, Rheeda Walker not only provides an astute and revealing diagnosis of the pain and trauma we have suffered as Black people, but deftly guides us on a journey towards care and healing, rejuvenation, and self-affirmation. Walker demonstrates that Black mental and physical health is connected to a long history of racial terror, while reminding us that Black communities already have the cultural tools to achieve what she calls ‘psychological fortitude,’ our shield of protection and well-being. Using elegant language that easily switches between the conversational intimacy of a girlfriend, the knowing wisdom of an auntie, and the clinical experience of a professional, The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health is also bolstered by historical examples and folk wisdom, popular culture references, and African proverbs. Walker has written a Black cultural tour de force; a robust and revelatory declaration that ‘our very own culture can save us.’”
—Jemima Pierre, associate professor of African American studies and anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles; and author of The Predicament of Blackness
“In her groundbreaking book, The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health, Rheeda Walker speaks directly to Black people: her book helps us to understand how racism, daily stress, and socioeconomic factors impact our daily lives. She places our experiences in the larger context of our culture and our African roots, so that we can embrace the power that is within us: our resilience and fortitude. In doing so, Walker gives us recommendations for change, whether it be getting the help we need, or learning how to bring about emotional well-being.”
—Lily D. McNair, PhD, clinical psychologist, and president of Tuskegee University
“‘The belief that we can endure anything is both a strength and a weakness of our current culture,’ writes Rheeda Walker, a behavioral scientist and psychology professor at the University of Houston. Early in The UnapologeticGuide to Black Mental Health, she highlights the struggles with mental illness and suicide that Black people experience, which go widely unacknowledged. She makes the empowering case that, in the midst of white supremacy and all its implications, Black people need to cultivate ‘psychological fortitude,’ sharing frameworks and resources that speak directly from and to Black Americans’ realities. Equally vital, for Walker, is the life-giving opportunity to celebrate one’s Black cultural and spiritual belonging. The book’s focus is twofold: Part One, Recognize Serious Threats to Emotional Health and Life; and Part 2, Reclaim Your Mind to Reclaim a Life Worth Living.”
An unapologetic exploration of the Black mental health crisis—and a comprehensive road map to getting the care you deserve in an unequal system.
We can’t deny it any longer: there is a Black mental health crisis in our world today. Black people die at disproportionately high rates due to chronic illness, suffer from poverty, under-education, and the effects of racism. This book is an exploration of Black mental health in today’s world, the forces that have undermined mental health progress for African Americans, and what needs to happen for African Americans to heal psychological distress, find community, and undo years of stigma and marginalization in order to access effective mental health care.
In The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health, psychologist and African American mental health expert Rheeda Walker offers important information on the mental health crisis in the Black community, how to combat stigma, spot potential mental illness, how to practice emotional wellness, and how to get the best care possible in system steeped in racial bias.
This breakthrough book will help you:
- Recognize mental and emotional health problems
- Understand the myriad ways in which these problems impact overall health and quality of life and relationships
- Develop psychological tools to neutralize ongoing stressors and live more fully
- Navigate a mental health care system that is unequal
It’s past time to take Black mental health seriously. Whether you suffer yourself, have a loved one who needs help, or are a mental health professional working with the Black community, this book is an essential and much-needed resource.
About the Author
Rheeda Walker, PhD, is a tenured professor of psychology in the department of psychology at the University of Houston. She is a behavioral science researcher and licensed psychologist who has published more than fifty scientific papers on African American adult mental health, suicide risk, and resilience. Walker is recognized as a fellow in the American Psychological Association due to her scholarly accomplishments.
Walker has been a guest expert psychologist on T.D. Jakes’s national television talk show, and her work has appeared or been cited in The Washington Post, CNN Health, the Houston Chronicle, and Ebony magazine. Her expertise has been critical to mentoring doctoral students in cross-cultural psychology since 2003. Walker was previously a lead consultant in the statewide African American Faith-Based Education and Awareness initiative in Texas. She conducts workshops, and coordinates with churches and other organizations to address emotional wellness.