BY TIFFANY JOHNSON
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Mental Health Awareness month is coming to a close. This month has been full of emotions. People are still having to social distance, which requires people to either be with loved ones or by themselves for extended periods of time, which is rough either way. The virus has hit Black and Latinx communities harder due to long standing disparities in practices and policies that contribute to many factors, including underlying conditions. The beginning of this week brought about another recorded police involved death that was like a punch in the gut. We're hurting. Our community is hurting, and with everything that we're already dealing with in the world, to be reminded that some folks are determined to view you as less than human is painful. Not only are we frustrated, but we're tired, and fearful of what could happen to our children or our loved ones when they go out into the world.
It takes a toll on our health, physically and mentally. Unfortunately, there's still a stigma in our community against counseling or therapy. Though, it can be an incredibly helpful outlet for personal peace and staying grounded, which is something that we could all benefit from during this time and beyond. This post is to remind you of some of our favorite black sitcoms that lowkey hype therapy. Even if our community doesn't always praise therapy, some of our on-screen favorites did or at least gave it a try when their characters were ready.
Black-ish is a gem. When the show first began to air, people were skeptical due to the title of the show, but once the Johnson family entered our home it became the relatable comedy that we needed. It touches on so many topics that relate to how we feel on a daily basis, and Season 3 - Episode 13 titled, Good Dre Hunting, touched on the topic of attending therapy. If you know the show, then you'll remember that Rainbow is a therapy regular, while her husband Andre has his own way to cope. They somewhat switched roles in this episode, which was both informative and hilarious. It's a reminder that therapy isn't for everybody, then on the other hand there are those that don't want to ever miss their therapy sessions.
Insecure is more of a mature sitcom. If you aren't familiar with the show, after checking out the recap video below from Season 1 - Episode 7, your eyes and ears will be full. At the beginning of the recap, you'll see Molly bumps into an old friend who bragged about how therapy changed her life. Reluctant to give it a try, Issa mentions that it might not be the worst idea, and Molly immediately got defensive and said,"are you trying to say I need therapy or something?" As Molly's character has grown over the seasons, she does begin to embrace therapy and as recent as last week's episode, she decided to reach back out to her therapist, Dr. Rhonda, after noticing changes in her behavior.
A Different World was that show. A feel good show that celebrated young black students on their college journey and beyond. Whitley Gilbert was a standout character. She was bougie, judgemental, and self-centered in the beginning, though her character evolved with age. This "relax, relate, release" scene from Season 5 - Episode 12, was one we all knew. We often would repeat this saying in school or with our families whenever someone would be stressed. It might've been overlooked that the helpful saying we love came from an iconic therapy session.
Martin doesn't need to be hyped. The below clip from Season 5 - Episode 3 may not be the best indicator of a successful therapy session, but Martin and Gina did give it a try! It's a reminder that the first counselor that you try may not be for you, but that doesn't mean therapy isn't for you. It could be, but with a different therapist or counselor.
This isn't the only time on the show they mentioned counseling as in a previous season, Pam and Gina were walking towards Martin's apartment and Pam mentioned how therapy was helping her life. A brief mention, but hopefully one that viewers noted.
The Living Single theme song alone is a vibe. Incorporate a bunch of friends figuring out life together, and you're sold. In Season 3 - Episode 19, the show's main character, Khadijah, is overwhelmed and starts acting atypical for her character. Regine then mentions, "honey, as your friend, I think you need therapy." Though, it's important to note you go to therapy because you think it will be beneficial, not because other people think it's needed for you.
Eventually Kyle sits her down and asks, "what's going on with you?" To which Khadijah responds, "what's not going on? Some big corporation is trying to run me out of business with my own idea. I'm holding down two jobs and paying off five loans." Sound familiar? Most of the time we're bogged down with taking care of our responsibilities so that we can stay above water, and we don't recognize the toll that pressure takes on our spirit and mind.
Khadijah eventually heads to therapy, in a wig and sunglasses, but she still gives it a try. This episode is golden!!
It's great there is a stronger focus being placed in our community on mental health. Whether you classify what you're going through as depression or anxiety, or use synonyms such as you're sad, worried, nervous, or stressed, please take time to connect with yourself and stay grounded. Here's a video clip from the talk show, Red Table Talk that provides a calming breathing technique for when you feel yourself getting overwhelmed.
If you have time to check out these shows through online streaming services, it may serve as a much needed stress reliever. Whatever you do, stay healthy and be well!
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