Establishing safe spaces
In response to last year’s global protests for racial justice, employers started to emphasise their commitment to Diversity & Inclusion more in the workplace.
The initial response by many corporates was to establish a place for safety for black and brown employees to share experiences of grief and racial trauma. But, what’s next?
Businesses will continue to deliver on this commitment by ensuring employees from diverse backgrounds can access effective mental health support, which includes containment for racial trauma and supporting their psychological safety.
What is a safe space?
Safe spaces allow everyone to share ideas and experiences without feeling judged or receiving any repercussions. A space where tough conversations can be had, or race and mental health concerns can be acknowledged and validated.
Safe spaces establishes safety, suspends judgement and provides a place to recognise racism as a traumatic event. A great place to explore the impacts of microaggressions in the workplace, which can be a tricky topic to tackle without open discussion.
Why is it important to have safe spaces?
In relation to race and mental health, safe spaces are key to establishing safety for nurturing and retaining diverse talent, providing a place for them to mourn trauma, alongside psychological support and connection.
Safe spaces will increase trust and belonging amongst employees to amplify diverse voices in the workplace and increase cohesion over difference, all vital ingredients to create happier, healthier and more diverse workplaces.
Unhappy workers are less productive. If your workplace does not have a space for employees to escape from all that is going on from the world, or the ability to openly talk about work-related issues, then it is going to impact your business and its success.
Reconnecting after experiences of racial trauma
Without processing racial trauma and the grief that racism can create, individuals may disassociate, delaying the process of recovery and connection.
Validating experiences of racial trauma and microaggressions in ways which are culturally nuanced will improve the mental health of your diverse talent.
Validation empowers people to begin to let some of their pain and build themselves up again. Reconnection will only occur through others recognising and affirming traumatic incidents.
Methods of recovery can include storytelling and sharing narratives or experiences, with those who are curious and listen to these experiences, with an open heart and not requiring a need for justification.
Diverse minds can also be nurtured more, with acts of self-care. Self-care could look like having a good sleep routine, doing physical activity you enjoy, journaling, or connecting with others.
Alternative methods include prayer, meditation, and music to reconnect with yourself and can be a great way to find out what works for your emotional wellbeing.
The most important thing is to find what works for you and give yourself permission. If you’re interested in learning more about how important Race & Mental Health is download our Wellbeing Toolkit