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In Trying Times, A Mental Health Professional Advocates For Self-Care


Having such easy access to images of these traumatic events, in videos that play again and again on the news and social media, can take a toll. Jasmine Banks has been trying to help people cope. She's a mental health professional and blogger from Arkansas. She writes a lot about her experience as a queer black woman.


Lately, she's been focusing on the idea of self-care. She says recent events have made that phrase, self-care, more than a buzzword.

JASMINE BANKS: It became just about, like, radically facing trauma and the internalized messages that we're inundated every day that says that we - we don't have value intrinsically. When we experience this national trauma and tragedy of watching black people be gunned down by - by police, I started to notice influencers and bloggers and friends of mine, particularly people of color and queer people, just experience this, like, wash of fatigue. You know, the idea that whenever we sit down for coffee and we talk, we, as of late, have this - these moments of just silence, where we sort of look at each other and go, I don't have any more words. Do you?

SHAPIRO: Banks recommends, after a week of traumatic events when you don't know what to say, find stability in community and look within.

BANKS: And it seems so trite and so empty and maybe even vague, but it's true nonetheless - places that you can celebrate and be joyful or grieve, if you need to grieve, or be angry, if you need to be angry. And my - my charge, which is if you are a person of color who is experiencing psychological trauma as a result of all that is unfolding in our nation as of late and even in our world, you - you know, you are - it's not a right I'm giving you, but I'm going to remind them. I'm going to remind us that we have the right to do whatever we need to do. If you need to crawl into yourself and read a book and escape from the world, however you choose to take care of yourself in that space is up to you. Just like Audrey Lorde said, like, caring for myself - it's - it's not self-indulgent. It is - it's self-preservation, and we deserve that. We deserve that space.

SIEGEL: Blogger and mental health professional, Jasmine Banks. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.