• Jane McKinney

What Black History Month means for mental health


Black History Month is a meaningful time to elevate Black voices in our community. A time to remember historical moments that were damaging and move forward from that place in allyship.


Recently, I read an article about saving democracy from Panthea Lee. It’s an important read—one I’ve asked all the LMSWs at A Balanced Life LLC to take a look at. I would encourage all of you to do the same because of the way it centers emotional weight and mental health within this conversation.


“And if my work as an organizer and facilitator has taught me anything,” Lee writes, “it’s that if we are to bridge divides, we must first understand, grapple with, and shepherd human emotion. This work is essential if we are serious about rebuilding democracy.”


In these times of civil and political unrest, it’s easy to stay home, feel angry, and complain. It’s more productive, but harder, to find a way to make a difference with empathy and humility. When people misbehave, there needs to be a response. However, we are all stronger and more effective when we do the work to understand other’s motivations. We are dealing with some serious mental health issues in our country on a large scale right now, and it makes me reflect on my role as a Kansas City therapist. The white privilege I have makes it seem to me that small efforts, such as voting and emailing, fall short, and if I stop there, I fall into complacency, thereby reinforcing the power structure that has allowed the current divide. But these issues of economic and social injustice need to be conveyed to policy makers this month and beyond, which is why I will continue to email as much as I can, vote, educate myself, and work with others in my community to work toward social, economic, and racial justice for all. I encourage everyone to educate themselves on how the history of our nation has affected Black lives. Mental Health America has an incredible list of resources that elevates Black voices, explains how racial trauma affects mental health, and shares healing resources for Black and African Americans. We have the human capacity to do the emotional work required to heal our society. My mantra: Real solutions for core issues, not bandaids for symptoms. Be well,

Jane

DISSENTING BILL HB 952

It is an important part of A Balanced Life LLC to stay educated on current policy that affects the mental health of our community. That is why we want to share with you Bill HB 952 that aims to prohibit the use of the 1619 Project initiative of the New York Times in the public schools of the state.


The 1619 Project strives to “reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.” It focuses on the reeducation of our nation’s history as one that profited greatly off of slavery and coercion of Black lives. It is incredibly important information for our country and a story that needs to be told. You can read more about the Project here.


A group of Missouri legislators (with sponsor Representative Brian Seitz) are working to prohibit the sharing of this Project in every Missouri school. And not only do they want to prohibit the initiative, but they are threatening to cut funding to schools that teach this curriculum on racism and slavery.


“Republican lawmakers in Arkansas, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri and South Dakota,” writes Barbara Rodriguez for USA Today, “filed bills last month that, if enacted, would cut funding to K-12 schools and colleges that provide lessons derived from the award-winning project.”


We encourage you to reach out to your local Missouri legislators to ask them to vote against this damaging bill. You can find all of your local congresspeople at this link: https://house.mo.gov/legislatorlookup.aspx

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT TELEHEALTH

Insurance companies continue to change policies regarding the pandemic. Please review the telehealth consent provided by A Balanced Life LLC to understand your responsibility regarding use of telehealth services. It is important that you contact your insurance company to learn if telehealth is authorized for your specific plan. You are encouraged to advocate for telehealth services directly with your insurance company if you feel that telehealth provides you equal or better therapeutic benefit; and, reduces your exposure risk to COVID-19 and variants. Contact jane@abalancedlifellc.com if you have questions or need more information.

FEATURED THERAPIST: TERRY PAINE, LCSW, LSCSW, RADC


Terry approaches therapy from a humanistic point of view. It is her belief that every person is made up of unique traits that are molded by the experiences they have had in their lives—positive as well as negative. She enjoys helping people find their best selves. She has worked extensively with adults who struggle with addiction, dual diagnosis, and/or the effects of traumatic events. Read more about Terry and contact her on our website.

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