Black Excellence, black health: Mind, body and soul
Suicides among Black girls is on a significant rise, according to a new report that was published by the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The data shows an annual increase of about 6.6% for Black teen girls between the ages of 15 to 17 from the years 2003-2017.
Patrice Graham, 34, is on a journey to help Black women take care of their mental health. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Graham had a studio in downtown Raleigh for all women. Her yoga practice called Araminta Wellness is now dedicated to improving the lives of one specific group.
“I want to help Black women to care for themselves,” Graham said. “To know peace in their body, in their mind, in their spirit. And, to take care of their mental and physical health.”
It was after the death of George Floyd and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement that she decided to reinvent her brand. She sees clients virtually or in-person either one-on-one or in small sessions in outdoor settings such as a park.
Given the disturbing statistics of Black girls committing suicide, it’s important to give girls the toolbox to develop healthy habits early on to deal with their mental health. Graham, who wishes she would have found yoga as a young girl, took her first class as an adult.
“A friend took me to a yoga class in college, and I hated it,” Graham said. “It was slow, and it was flute music. And really what it was, it was too still. I was used to being busy, and I was not used to noticing how active my mind was.”
When Graham was in grad school, she gave yoga another chance and realized that she loved it.
Her goal now is to create a circle of healing for Black women who have a shared experience, where they can speak only about stress, anxiety, depression, microaggressions or race-based trauma.
Compared to white women, Black women are only half as likely to seek out help for their mental health challenges, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
“As Black women in America, we haven’t had the same opportunities, the same advantages as other folks,” Graham said. “And, we’ve still survived and thrived in a lot of ways. But that came with a sacrifice, with a price to our mental and physical health.”
In addition to traditional yoga, Graham focuses each class on breathing and rest. Her technique allows Black women to feel connected in a safe space, which empowers them and helps them feel better.