Actor and entrepreneur Gabrielle Union is nothing if not busy: This summer season, she introduced the relaunch of her Flawless magnificence line, designed for textured hair and now majority Black-owned. Earlier this month, she confirmed the sequel to her mega-hit teen film Bring It On. And simply this week, she hosted an all-Black desk learn of the all-white Friends. All whereas being mother to her nearly 2-year-old daughter, Kaavia James, with husband Dwyane Wade, and stepmom to Wade’s three kids from earlier relationships, together with 13-year-old Zaya, who’s transgender.
No matter how busy — or maybe as a result of she is so busy — Union works onerous to handle her psychological well being.
In reality, this week, she squeezed in not one however two classes together with her therapist. “It’s been one of those weeks, and I have zero shame about that,” she mentioned throughout a Citizen Verizon panel on psychological well being moderated by journalist Soledad O’Brien and streamed on Yahoo Life.
‘I strongly recommend therapy’
Union, 47, first noticed a therapist greater than 25 years in the past, after she was raped at gunpoint near the top of her shift at a Payless shoe retailer in California. She says the psychological well being help she sought out and obtained was “lifesaving.” To today, she is a diehard advocate. “I strongly recommend therapy,” Union mentioned. “And if the first [therapist] isn’t a great fit — and that happens, we’re all just people — try another and try another until you find someone that you feel gets you in and speaks your language and is helpful.”
Union is precisely conscious that remedy can typically be a tough promote inside the Black group.
“I think for most marginalized communities, but specifically the Black community, you have to overcome so much to get to therapy,” she mentioned. “You have to overcome the stigma. There’s a lot of negative feelings about ‘headshrinkers’ or having to go talk to someone about your problems. Like it’s a sign of weakness or that you’re somehow deficient. So you have to overcome that part that is just societal within our communities.”
And then there’s the impediment of value. “We lack the collective resources as marginalized communities to pay for therapy,” Union famous. But even so, she urges others to seek out the assistance they want. “There are so many different initiatives these days, since the pandemic started, for low- and no-cost therapy. And I strongly, strongly recommend it,” she mentioned.
‘The brutalization of Black and brown bodies’
Union is conscious of the immense stresses on her group amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which is taking a disproportionate toll on the Black group and through what she calls the nation’s ongoing “racial reckoning.”
“I don’t think people understand what it is like to see the daily barrage of the brutalization of Black and brown bodies, bodies that look like yours … what that does to all of us, but specifically to Black and brown children, trying to make sense of the anti-Blackness, trying to make sense of racism,” she mentioned. “I don’t think anyone’s ever really given us any kind of data or research about the lasting impact of racism, the trauma, the harm caused.”
Safety in numbers
As the world continues to reel, Union finds immense consolation within the large prolonged household at the moment hunkered down in her California home. In addition to their very own kids, Union and Wade moved her mom into their home, alongside together with her mom’s three adopted kids (ages 10, 12 and 13). They additionally introduced Wade’s mom from Chicago, and requested Wade’s youthful sister and niece to hitch too. “We really realized how important our village is during this crisis,” she mentioned. “So we have a houseful.”
And it’s a busy home. With so many individuals living, working and distant studying underneath one roof, there’s “constant noise” and “constant distraction.” “All of us are coping and having different kinds of challenges that all manifest in different ways,” she mentioned. “The stress, the anxiety for everyone has been pretty consistent and pretty intense.”
So Union appears for tactics to assist. There are household walks within the solar, household meals, necessary time away from screens and necessary each day showers. For her personal peace of thoughts, Union begins every day with a guided meditation. (Her present favorites: Actor Logan Browning’s weekly meditation on Instagram and “Affirmation Pods” with Josie Ong.) She listens whereas she’s brushing her enamel or preparing. “Some of us do it when we’re on the toilet, because our family doesn’t allow us any privacy anywhere else or time,” she mentioned, laughing.
“So wherever you can find that time or that space, you grab it as you can.”
Gabrielle Union was a panelist for a psychological well being dialogue on “Citizen Verizon Assembly: Education Is Not Up for Debate,” a streaming occasion sponsored by Verizon, Yahoo’s dad or mum firm.
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