All of our programs, initiatives and projects are directed by our programmatic approach, which we have named "Social Justice Informed Mental Health Literacy" (SJM)

We define Social justice Informed mental health literacy as: “Mental health education framed in the social-historical context of inequality that aids in the skills building, healing and liberation of communities.”

In addition to the definition, BEAM has created principles for SJM, built upon the pioneering work of multicultural and Black feminists and womanists. These principles state that in relation to Black communities an SJM approach must:

  • Validate and give voice to the legacy of harm in Black communities.

  • Affirm and acknowledge the historic and present-day resilience, defiance, coping skills and strategies in Black communities.

  • Coach community members on how to offer first-responder support to mental health challenges and crises.

  • Cultivate skills that promote agency in engaging mental health professionals and basic knowledge of mental health interventions/treatments and systems.

  • Facilitate consciousness-raising and direct action to address social inequities and conditions that impact Black mental health––such as transphobia, racism, ableism, misogynoir, HIV/AIDS, and homophobia.

  • Advocate and organize for accessible, innovative models of mental healthcare.

  • Equip community members with knowledge and tools that support healthy mental health coping skills and healing.




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