As votes are cast and tallied in all fifty states, the air itself feels thick with tension. With so much at stake — a pandemic revealing our society’s deepest disparities, ongoing racial justice protests, an eviction crisis looming — it’s apparent to most of us that politics isn’t something we can ignore or tune out.
All of us are likely feeling the consequences of how our government has handled COVID-19. Yet especially if we’re marginalized in some way — if we’re women, people of color, queer people, or low-income, and increasingly, if we’re caregivers — you’ve probably long known that public issues are never “just” politics. Instead, politics and policy, from elections to the allocation of funding, have a deep impact on our ability to live happy, healthy lives.
Dylesia Hampton Barner, LCSW, knows this all too well. A therapist and interpersonal trauma expert, Barner founded Trap Therapist, a network of therapists who come from low-income communities of color, in order to provide accessible services to people who are underrepresented in the mental health field. Because 86% of therapists are white and they often don’t take insurance and may lack the life experience of deep poverty, their services can be inaccessible to low-income people. In contrast, Barner works to connect clients to therapists who truly understand their lived reality.
Recently, Trap Therapist hosted a panel exploring the implications the 2020 election will have on mental health policy and the well-being of marginalized Americans. Talkspace spoke to Barner about the impact the current election will have on our mental health — and how we can stay resilient in the face of the overwhelming impact politics has on our daily lives.