Yolo Akili Robinson  (Courtesy photo)

The Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective hosted an interactive workshop on April 6 at Black Being LA to provide mental health education and skill-based training for Black and Brown residents of marginalized communities. BEAM is a community-based, nonprofit organization that imagines a world where there are no barriers to Black healing.

“When we think about anger and rage at injustice in this country, we recognize and offer a response to denigration, devaluation, and violence,” said BEAM Executive Director Yolo Akili Robinson.

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“There’s nothing wrong with being angry. It’s an adaptive and realistic response to the stress we experience. The question is, how do we use that rage to transform our condition and support each other,” he said.

Dr. Jennifer Mullan (Courtesy photo)

Approximately 25 interested community members took part in the workshop led by Dr. Jennifer Mullan, author of the book “Loving, Honoring & Healing Our Rage: Decolonizing Therapy.” The clinical psychologist has been featured in Allure, GQ, Cosmopolitan, and more.

“Rage is the lovechild of ancestral trauma, shame, and suffocated grief,” she declared. “The question is, what is your relationship with rage and do I want to expand on this relationship, improve it, or avoid it.

“I wrote my book because so many therapists needed a resource for Black, Brown, and Indigenous people that is not mired by Eurocentricity and the roots of violence and colonization. Oftentimes, our big feelings are seen as rebellious and pathologized.

“Rage is often minimized, pressed down, and not felt. But rage and grief need to be felt and understood with a Black-centric lens that doesn’t make us feel crazy. I expect a lot of healing today, wellness, laughter, and maybe some tears,” she said.

BEAM offers skill-based training that helps Black folks learn healing justice through informed peer support practice, such as emotional intelligence, organizational wellness, support hotlines, mobile crisis units, and a Black virtual wellness directory to find a Black therapist.

Natalie Patterson (Courtesy photo)

“As the director of Training and Programs here at BEAM, I get to see the intersection of performance, advocacy, and agency,” stated Natalie Patterson.

“I get to be a whole person and be a mirror to my community to show that we can be brave and do hard things, and that it can turn out beautiful, while simultaneously being imperfect,” she stated.

“I think it’s going to be a beautiful day of folks having the opportunity to connect with themselves, with community, and with how we process rage from a therapeutic standpoint, but also, with practical tools that they can take away knowing that BEAM is a resource to them,” she said.

BEAM support also includes “Black Healing Remixed: The Podcast,” an interactive program that creates narratives surrounding mental health healing practices; and Black Masculinity Re-Imagined, a skills-building program that trains and supports Black men to address community violence.

Robinson, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation award recipient for his work in Black mental health, began the workshop by leading the participants in a Sacred Pause.

“Talking about mental health and healing can be activating,” he said. “We want to create a practice to ground and center ourselves through breathing to help lessen the ways things may show. It’s also a good opportunity to help people practice something they can do at home for free,” he added.

For more information, visit https://beam.community/