Black Incarcerated People Aren’t Getting Mental Healthcare – That's Why She's Taking Action

Women speaking to each other
Zain Murdock
October 19, 2021

From personally experiencing violence to witnessing it in prisons, the trauma that incarcerated people endure doesn’t just stop when they walk outside the prison gates.

In the past 20 years, suicides in U.S. jails and prisons have skyrocketed by 85%. That’s 4,500 people in state and federal prisons, and 6,200 in local jails.

Anti-criminalization and prison abolitionist Mariame Kaba recently unveiled a partnership with a program called Help Me Find A Therapist (HMFAT). Their goal? To connect formerly incarcerated people of color with qualified therapists of color – and they’re hoping to do it for free.

They’re hoping to provide therapy for at least 5,000 people. Considering the overall lack of, as Kaba describes, “culturally competent, community-based” therapy and counseling for incarcerated people who aren’t white, this would be a huge feat.

Because of the increasingly violent environment of incarceration, as well as mental conditions people may have before they enter jail or prison, this is a crucially important effort.

When we talk about the health and well-being of Black people, that includes incarcerated Black people, and also includes mental health. Life in prisons and jails can be extremely traumatizing, but we can also offer support to people when they get out. You can support the project at

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