Black History Month

FEAP Celebrates Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, FEAP is excited to engage in the celebration by providing a range of resources. From educational materials to music to brighten your day, explore our page dedicated to recognizing the history, culture, health, and well-being of Black Americans and members of the UVA/Charlottesville Community. Join us in this celebration of Black History—an important history that enriches us all.

Mental Health, Black History, & Systemic Injustice

FEAP understands the significance of recognizing the historical context of systemic racism especially within the mental health system and emphasizes its relevance not only during Black History Month but throughout the entire year. Recognizing and comprehending its impact on Black communities in the US and globally is vital for improving overall societal well-being.

In observance of Black History Month, FEAP is highlighting and spotlighting the often-overlooked contributions of Black and African American individuals to the mental health movement and giving educational and support resources related to mental health, Black history, and the lived experience of Black people in the section below.

  • Black Mental Health History

    The Central State Hospital Digital Library & Archives Project

    Founded in 1870 in Petersburg, Virginia, Central State Hospital (CSH) – formerly Central State Lunatic Asylum for Colored Insane – was the first mental health care facility for African Americans in the country. The collection contains over 100 years of records related to the historic institution; these are the most complete archival records of blacks and mental illness in the United States. Items include board minutes, annual reports, procedural manuals, financial reports, patient registers, photos, newsletters, and monographs.

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    The 1840 U.S. Census Was Overly Interested in Americans’ Mental Health

    This article delves into the historical evolution of the U.S. census’s approach to mental health inquiries, highlighting shifts from asking about “idiots” and “insane” individuals in the 1840 census to later adopting terms like “defective of mind.” The census reflected societal attitudes, influencing the establishment of asylums and contributing to eugenic ideologies, ultimately leading to a cessation of mental health inquiries on the national census in 1900. The narrative underscores the intersection of scientific, social, and institutional dynamics shaping perceptions of mental health over time.

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    The Historical Roots of Racial Disparities in the Mental Health System

    This article explores pervasive racial disparities within the mental health system, emphasizing the historical context that shaped these inequities. Research underscores how Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) face obstacles such as limited access to mental health services and misdiagnoses. The piece delves into the historical roots of systemic racism in mental health, shedding light on how biased narratives have influenced diagnoses, treatment, and the overrepresentation of BIPOC in prisons. The analysis challenges conventional interventions, proposing a broader understanding of the system itself to address persisting racial disparities.

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    The Legacy of “Deinstitutionalization”

    In this article, Shivani Nishar, Health & Justice Fellow at the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, sheds light on the alarming intersection of race, disability, and incarceration. Examining historical roots, she exposes the systemic pathologization and criminalization of Black individuals, illustrating how racial biases in diagnosis perpetuate a cycle of institutionalization, particularly affecting Black children. Nishar calls for a reevaluation of the treatment of mentally ill communities, urging a shift towards non-carceral, compassionate care.

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