Black Women's Mental Health

Balancing Strength and Vulnerability

Edited by Stephanie Y. Evans, Kanika Bell, and Nsenga K. Burton
Foreword by Linda Goler Blount

Subjects: Women's Studies, African American Studies, Psychology, Psychology Of Women, Mental Health
Paperback : 9781438465821, 324 pages, July 2018
Hardcover : 9781438465814, 324 pages, July 2017

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Table of contents

Linda Goler Blount, President of Black Women’s Health Imperative


Introduction: Learning to BREATHE: Toward a Balanced Model of Black Women’s Wellness
Stephanie Y. Evans, Kanika Bell, and Nsenga K. Burton

Part I: Balancing Vulnerability

Sisters on Sisters: Inner Peace from the Black Woman Mental Health Professional Perspective
Kanika Bell

When the Bough Breaks: The StrongBlackWoman and the Embodiment of Stress
Chanequa Walker-Barnes

Representations of Black Women’s Mental Illness in HTGAWM and Being Mary Jane
Nsenga K. Burton

Selfies, Subtweets, & Suicide: Social Media as Mediator and Agitator of Mental Health for Black Women
Joy Harden Bradford

Part II: Balancing Strength

From Worthless to Wellness: Self-Worth, Power, and Creative Survival in Memoirs of Sexual Assault
Stephanie Y. Evans

The Travel Diaries: Excursions for Balance, Reflection, Healing, and Empowerment
Kami J. Anderson

My Body Is a Vehicle: Narratives of Black Women Holistic Leaders on Spiritual Development, Mental Healing, and Body Nurturing
Rachel Panton

Black Women’s Sexuality and Relationships: Embracing Self-Love through BREATHE-ing
Qiana M. Cutts

African American Mothers’ Parenting in the Midst of Violence and Fear: Finding Meaning and Transcendence
Ruby Mendenhall, Loren Henderson, and Barbara M. Scott

Part III: Strategies for Balance

Black Feminist Therapy as a Wellness Tool
Lani V. Jones and Beverly Guy-Sheftall

Looking Through the Window: Black Women’s Perspectives on Mental Health and Self-Care
Maudry-Beverley Lashley, Vanessa Marshall, and TyWanda McLaurin-Jones

Don’t Go Back to Sleep: Increasing Well-Being through Contemplative Practice
Veta Goler

Love Lessons: Black Women Teaching Black Girls to Love
Alero Afejuku, Sheila Flemming-Hunter, and Ayo Gathing

Transformative Mental Health for African American Women: Health Policy Considerations
Daniel E. Dawes and Keisha Braithwaite Holden

Diane R. Brown and Verna M. Keith


Creates a new framework for approaching Black women’s wellness, by merging theory and practice with both personal narratives and public policy.


This book offers a unique, interdisciplinary, and thoughtful look at the challenges and potency of Black women's struggle for inner peace and mental stability. It brings together contributors from psychology, sociology, law, and medicine, as well as the humanities, to discuss issues ranging from stress, sexual assault, healing, self-care, and contemplative practice to health-policy considerations and parenting. Merging theory and practice with personal narratives and public policy, the book develops a new framework for approaching Black women's wellness in order to provide tangible solutions. The collection reflects feminist praxis and defines womanist peace in terms that reject both "superwoman" stereotypes and "victim" caricatures. Also included for health professionals are concrete recommendations for understanding and treating Black women.

"…this book speaks not only to Black women but also educates a broader audience of policymakers and therapists about the complex and multilayered realities that we must navigate and the protests we must mount on our journey to find inner peace and optimal health. " — from the Foreword by Linda Goler Blount

For access to an online resource created by the editors, visit: Black Women's Mental Health @ http://www. bwmentalhealth. net/

Stephanie Y. Evans is Professor and Chair of African American Studies, Africana Women's Studies, and History at Clark Atlanta University. She is the author of Black Passports: Travel Memoirs as a Tool for Youth Empowerment and the coeditor (with Colette M. Taylor, Michelle R. Dunlap, and DeMond S. Miller) of African Americans and Community Engagement in Higher Education: Community Service, Service-Learning, and Community-Based Research, both also published by SUNY Press. Kanika Bell is Associate Professor of Psychology at Clark Atlanta University. She is also a licensed psychologist and owner of A.T.L. Psychotherapy & Consulting Services. Nsenga K. Burton is Digital Editor of Grady Newsource at the University of Georgia, where she also teaches news writing and multiplatform production. She is the editor of The Burton Wire.


"By bringing together people in the social sciences, the humanities and policy in the writing of Black Women's Mental Health, the editors help women in the academy begin to forge partnerships that help center and amplify black women's voices. The book provides a bibliography of sources that researchers can utilize to build models for future research and programming. " — Women in Higher Education