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Group offers black women a safe place to grieve, away from pressure to always be strong

african american woman leaning against door frame
Javier Sánchez Salcedo
There's a stigma associated with mental health care in the black community, Patrece Lucas said.

The Next Idea

We live in a world of stereotypes, as disappointing as that can be sometimes.

Here’s one of them: black women never take any guff from anyone and they are always strong.

No one is always strong. Bad things happen in life, and we all experience tragedies. So when an African-American woman is struggling with loss, struggling with grief, where can she turn?

Patrece Lucas, a licensed mental health counselor with Indigo Transitions, is working on that. She said being a strong black woman frequently means feeling enormous pressure to hold in your feelings. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

As a mental health counselor, Lucas was invited to help facilitate a group called “Where Do Black Women Go To Grieve?” It’s part of a nonprofit organization called Good Grief Detroit.

On the first and third Monday evening of every month, the group invites black women to Sweet Potato Sensations to experience a “safe place to grieve.”

“The reality is there hasn’t been a luxury for African-Americans, and women specifically, to have the opportunity to really explore their grief, explore their trauma, explore their pain,” Lucas said.

Listen above to hear why she believes that has to change, and how she's working to do just that. 

Minding Michigan is Stateside’s ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state.

The Next Ideais Michigan Radio’s project devoted to new innovations and ideas that will change our state.

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