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On June 26, EXHALE, the groundbreaking emotional well-being application tailored exclusively for Black women and women of Color, unveiled the highly anticipated release of “The State of Self-Care for Black Women” report.
This comprehensive publication delves into the intricate dynamics of mental, emotional, and physical health experienced by Black Women.
Drawing from a sample size of 1,005 respondents, the report aims to display the survey data pertaining to the intersectional identities of Black women and their encounters with stress.
The findings illuminate the role of racial trauma, stereotypes, and discrimination in contributing to elevated stress levels endured by Black Women within both their personal and professional lives.
EXHALE reveals half of Black women surveyed are profoundly stressed
The results reveal that 50% of surveyed Black women indicate that stress profoundly impacts their daily lives, with 25% revealing that it has necessitated hospitalization or medical attention.
An alarming 76% of respondents believe that prevailing societal notions label Black Women as innately stronger than their counterparts, thereby establishing unjust expectations for their ability to manage excessive stress.
Additionally, a significant 66% attest to exerting themselves excessively in order to excel in their careers and fulfill personal obligations.
Black women often can’t find a resource which identifies with their lived experiences
While the availability of stress management resources has increased, the report underscores the numerous barriers impeding Black women’s access to formal mental health support.
The majority of existing resources fall short of addressing the distinctive experiences of Black women, further exacerbating the challenges they face. Consequently, an overwhelming 77% of participants assert the urgent necessity for more tailored well-being tools and resources that cater to their specific needs.
Founder of EXHALE, Katara McCarty believes that this survey unequivocally demonstrates the detrimental impact arising from the absence of essential support systems that are designed to specifically help Black women.
McCarty is a coach, author, podcast host, and founder and CEO of Katecha Corp, a technology corporation that aims to prioritize the health of Black women through wellness applications.
The Black Wall Street Times spoke with McCarty, who feels that Black women are unable to embark on a path of complete healing unless they are acknowledged in a way that fully encompasses who they are. “I believe that when Black women are fully seen, they can fully heal. EXHALE is a resource that is unapologetically catering to Black women, and creating resources that speak directly to the ways in which we have to move through life,” McCarty explained.
The report’s conclusions yield insight into various critical findings, including the unique stressors experienced by Black Women, such as the persistent “Strong Black Woman” trope, historical trauma faced by the Black community, discrimination and microaggressions. Moreover, it showcases the pressing need for culturally sensitive resources that confront the specific pressures encountered by Black Women.
“The State of Self-Care for Black Women” report is a call to action
“The State of Self-Care for Black Women” report delivers a profound call to action, urging society to recognize and address the multifaceted challenges faced by Black Women in the realm of mental health. The data showed that the stress levels of Black women were significantly increased by experiencing microaggressions at their workplace.
By embracing this imperative, communities and organizations can begin to prioritize the well-being of Black Women by taking advantage of opportunities available for employers who are seeking to support their Black female workforce using EXHALE.
McCarty explained that the data shows that the broad diversity initiatives that are often put in place to promote inclusivity within the workplace are not yielding a positive effect on Black women. She elaborated, “My hope is that these institutions take another look at their claim of fostering safe spaces for Black people and Black women, and realize that it is going to require them to make more specific resources available for Black employees and Black women that are a part of their organization.”
EXHALE was launched in 2020 after McCarty unsuccessfully searched for mental health apps for Black people
McCarty explained that she knows firsthand the difficulty that many Black women experience while seeking resources that cater to their well-being. She reflected on her motivations for launching EXHALE in 2020 and explained that there were multiple stressors influencing the mental health of the Black community during that time such as the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd as well as the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacting African Americans.
She recounted that in her search to find an app that contained tools to help her navigate life amidst these challenges she couldn’t find any that were addressing the trauma of the Black community. She explained that she felt like a resource like this needed to exist. “I decided to create the very thing I was looking for,” McCarty said.
Mental health is directly connected to physical well-being
While creating an app that catered to the mental and emotional needs of Black women McCarty made sure to acknowledge the idea that people are interconnected beings whose emotions can trigger physical responses. “If we’re holding stress and trauma in our bodies that can cause emotional distress, it can cause depression. It can cause physical sickness, high blood pressure and other illnesses,” McCarty explained.
By focusing on reducing stress as a way to increase the mental and physical health of EXHALE application consumers McCarty leveraged her experience as a coach to incorporate practices such as breathwork, meditation, and mindfulness. By using the same methods included in the app McCarty was able to improve her own sense of well-being. “ I could see a difference in the way in which my stress levels were decreasing and how I could manage big emotions,” McCarty said.
McCarty emphasized her heartfelt passion for creating the EXHALE app as a valuable resource for Black women and women of color. She explained that she was abandoned by her birth mother as a baby and was raised by two amazing Black women.
She credited her Mother and late Grandmother for instilling in her the importance of giving back to the Black community and never forgetting where you came from.
“This work feels like coming home,” McCarty said.
She expressed her deep gratitude for the way that the Black women in her life have poured into her by stating, “I’m showing up for Black women who showed up for me in my darkest of times.”
McCarty plans to launch a new and updated version of the EXHALE app later this week with a new design and a breathing orb animation feature.
The update will also include new content, breathwork techniques, guided meditations, daily extended thought notifications, and the launch of a new EXHALE podcast.
Users will be able to pay for a yearly subscription that unlocks more content. However, the app also features plenty of free tools and resources. The EXHALE app can be downloaded via the Apple App Store or Google Play.