About fifty people were sitting with their eyes closed, inhaling and exhaling, on the second floor of Newfields last Saturday.
This event included targeted breathing exercises to address exhaling and coping with life’s challenges.
Launched in 2020, the EXHALE app is the first emotional well-being app designed specifically for Black, Indigenous and women of color.
“In lieu of everything that was happening in the Black community, the oppression that already exists, was being exasperated. I was frustrated. And I was stressed. I went to search for some well-being apps, and there was nothing for the Black community,” said Katara McCarty, president and CEO of the EXHALE app.
Since launching in 2020, EXHALE has reached 17,000 downloads, with users in 55 countries. This, playing a critical role in filling a gap in the number of available resources that support minority women.
The Indy entrepreneur hosted Saturday’s free event to celebrate the launch of the new version of her EXHALE app. She also hosted a panel discussion on “The State of Self-Care for Black Women” report.
The State of Self-Care for Black Women
McCarty, who surveyed over 1,000 Black women for the report, moderated the panel, speaking with panelists Dr. Colette Pierce-Burnette, president and CEO of Newfields, Andrea Hunley, state senator for District 46, and Angela Smith Jones, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion at Health & Hospital Corp. of Marion County.
“The people that have to do the dismantling are non-people of color, and we don’t hold the power and privilege to do that as a Black community. We can speak to it, we can resist it, but my hope is that EXHALE exists to give a space on how to handle our mental and emotional health,” said McCarty.
Nearly half of the Black women surveyed for the report indicate that stress impacts their daily lives. 25% report being hospitalized or needing medical care due to stress.
An overwhelming 76% of the respondents think there is a prevalence of people who believe Black Women are stronger than most people. Therefore, they should be able to manage more stress than others.
66% of those surveyed say they overexert themselves to excel in the workplace and to take care of personal responsibilities.
While resources to manage stress have become more abundant, the report further confirms that Black women face many barriers in accessing formal mental health resources, with the majority of resources failing to address the unique experiences of Black women.
As a result, 77% of respondents believe there is a need for more tools like EXHALE and resources tailored to support their specific needs.
The EXHALE app had their first panel discussion in New Orleans, Louisiana, at Essence Fest.
They will hold further panels in Los Angeles, California, and New York City, New York.
Contact staff writer Jade Jackson at 317-607-5792 or by email [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON