News coverage of racial tensions recently has led to an outpouring of anger and frustration – and affected many people’s mental health. We spoke to coach and consultant Linda Mbagwu about how individuals and communities can begin to heal. This isn’t a new situation, Linda says, but the wider reaction could partly be because of the epidemic, with more time to be self-reflective, and we might be more sensitive towards mental health issues. “The footage is a magnifying glass on what many of us feel.”

Linda has been coaching young black entrepreneurs to explore what within them is triggering the anger and frustration, and it’s often an extension of issues or insecurities they have in other areas. “Be intentional with the frustration and sadness and analyse if there are parts of your life where you may have given away control or not spoken up.”

With white clients, she is coaching them through their acceptance of previous unconscious bias. This is the time to become a better ally, she says, and listen beyond a black person’s anger and emotion. “You’re not an ally if you don’t stand against injustice.” And for black people, understand that some of the experiences and behaviour they suffered may not have been intentional. Be curious and don’t judge if a request to learn about your experiences of injustice comes from a place of love. We need to create a space for actual listening, says Linda, and to get into each other’s worlds. “It can be healthy and powerful if these emotions and energy are channeled towards making social change.”

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