You Good Bruh?
“ You good bruh” – Every black person when they want to know how you’re doing, but don’t want to know too much, because it “ain’t our business”
Talking to your friends about mental health. It usually ends with the same statement and starts with:
“Aye..you good?”, “you good bruh”, or some variation has been our way of checking in on others and “aight cool” is usually how we finish our inquiry. This statement is probably best used when we check in with our strong friend. We think they have it all together. So, we hope to God that they actually don’t say anything because we probably weren’t expecting to actually talk to them about their issues. We hope our strong friend has it all together, because God forbid, we now must become the helper. We’re the ones with the jacked-up life!
Some people prefer to be the one that vents, not the one that listens. Listening is a burden that many don’t want to bear. When you become a listener, you’re responsible for practicing empathy, being present, and you know…doing what you hoped that person would do for you…help. Some may feel they can’t help the helper, and I assure you- You can.
Asking if “you’re good” is at most a gesture, but more needs to be done to make sure the other person is good. So, what are you doing to ensure that they are?
One way to ensure this is to check in with yourself. Gestures of good nature are often gestures that appear to be empty when you really look into it. Ask yourself “when I check in with this person, am I ready for some heavy stuff?” “Am I creating a space big enough for my emotions and theirs to process?” And most importantly, “do I want them to open up to me after I ask this question?” Another way is to refer them to someone that can help them in a way that you may not be able to.
It’s not always about you being in a position to help, it’s about your willingness to do so when called upon.
“Aye, you got a minute?” – The statement people make when they are about to drop some heavy stuff on you.
So, what now?
You are now the listener, and they hit you with some heavy stuff. Even for you and your newfound empathy, it’s just too much.
You can only do so much. And honestly, sometimes you simply being there to listen is enough. Now what’s next? How do you talk to a friend about seeing a therapist? How does, “aye bruh, you good?” Turn into, “Have you thought of therapy?”
Talking about mental health, normalizes mental health. It helps create a realistic view and expectation of therapy. It’s not where ODB and Busta Rhymes went in their music video. It’s not kicking your feet up on some couch that everyone else laid on while someone with a notepad is sketching random drawings while saying “uh huh, and how does that make you feel?” Therapy should be a safe space where you come as you are and where you are not judged. Therapy is a space where an unbiased eye and ear can challenge you and accompany you on your journey to growth and healing. It’s where “aye bruh, you good” intersects with an understanding of the reasons and systems that have put you in the place you currently are in.
“Aye, but…do you” -A statement to absolve oneself from whatever was discussed.
People are more likely to go to therapy when their peers or people close to them are involved in the help-seeking process. We need to offer a sense of transparency and support that goes beyond asking a question. It needs to start with a conversation. Be comfortable with exploring what you can do to better support your friend or associate. Challenge yourself to go beyond the superficial pleasantries of “Aye bruh you good?” and instead simply state the obvious/ your concerns. Tell them you’re concerned, tell them what you notice, tell them they can see a therapist and that it is ok if they do.
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