Take a Breather During Black History Month


The 2022 Black History Month theme is Black Health and Wellness. Health can be seen from different aspects like physical and mental, but while some people take care of their physical health and presentation, their mental health can be neglected. Mental health is equally as important, and having good mental health is essential in the lives of students.  

Students like senior Adrianna Bagley have expressed the effect school has on their mental health.

“I don’t have good mental health because of how stressful school is,” says Bagley. “Mentally, it causes a lot of anxiety and additional stress that affect me outside of school. Physically, it is extremely tiring, more tiring than it should be to go to school.” 

In the Black community, there is a stigma around getting mental health help.

The Black Mental Health Alliance (BMHA), an organization that supports the health and wellbeing of Black communities, says, “Black people have indicated that mild depression or anxiety would be viewed as ‘crazy’ in their social circles.”

Additionally, the BMHA says, “Many…believe that discussions about mental illness would not be appropriate even among family.” 

There has recently been a turning point in the discussion of mental health among Black youth, however.  

Tiyah Littman, a junior, has started to seek help and find outlets to better her mental health.  

“A few activities that I do that brings me joy are making bracelets, hanging out with friends, and watching movies,” says Littman. “I do these things to distract me from the stressful environment that Banneker creates for students.” 

Our Minds Matter (OMM), a website that provides mental health tools for teens, also has upcoming opportunities to learn about Black youth and mental health (2/16 at 7pm), and careers in mental health (2/23 at 7pm).

If you are a Banneker student in need of mental health support, please see your guidance counselor or a trusted adult. 

  • Cierra Branch‑Harris, School Psychologist, is located in room A303.
  • The counselors on the third-floor in the guidance suite are: Ms. Keisha Henderson, Ms. Reina Arevalo, Ms. Rosa Kline, and Ms. Simone Boone.  
  • To find a Black psychiatrist in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area, visit the Black Mental Health Alliance site and go to their outreach and their “Directory of Black Psychiatrists.”  
  • Suicide hotline800-273-8255 
  • For youth in the District, you can get help 24/7 with a mental health crisis, call 202-481-1440. 
  • If anyone is in immediate danger, dial 911. *Tell the operator it is a psychiatric emergency and ask for police officers who are trained in crisis intervention, trained to help people who are experiencing a psychiatric emergency.