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Black History Month spotlight: Black Voices in Bend, Pt. 2

NewsChannel 21 discusses mental health with Bend counselor Tobiah Brown

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- As we celebrate Black History Month, NewsChannel 21 is recognizing and honoring Black figures in our community who are making a difference in the lives of others.

NewsChannel 21 reporter Arielle Brumfield recently sat down with Bend counselor Tobiah Brown to discuss mental health in the Black community, and why it's important to prioritize care, if you're struggling.

Brown is a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern with Juniper Ridge Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and Forever Family Therapy. She works with families and children all across the tri- county area, helping them process experiences that weigh heavily on them-- and for the Black community, it can be a plethora of experiences.

“But I do have to say for people of color, we are constantly engaged in struggle -- and I won’t say protests," Brown said. "I’ll say we are constantly engaged in trying to make progress.”

After a year like 2020 -- a year seemingly dedicated to dismantling struggles caused by racism and inequality -- Brown says seeking out support for your mental health should be a normalized priority.

NewsChannel 21 talked with Brown about trauma and how Black communities historically continue to be disadvantaged through systems like enslavement and oppression, racism and segregation and as has been the tragic focus in recent years, police brutality.

In addition, Brown says Black people fight a stigma surrounding seeking counseling.

“A lot of service, social service or social help has been used to the detriment of Black folks, or the detriment of Latinx folks, or the detriment of indigenous folks," she said. "When you go to interact with some of these services, there is always a risk that something bad is going to happen.”

Recognizing that the Black community suffers from an increased rate of mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression, Brown says Black people and other people of color are now joining more social services professions and bringing different perspectives.

This encourages communities of color to seek therapy and brings more variety to the support they are able to receive.

“So I think when you look at the Black community, and I say, ‘Hey, I’m here to walk with you,’ that’s much more what we do culturally, instinctively and naturally.”

After a summer of civil unrest and protests, Brown says months later, there's an openness with many of her patients wanting to talk about experiences not just related to childhood trauma, but also with race.

“Now I’m starting to see that, it’s a safer space," Brown said. "There’s more distance, so people can say, ‘This is what happened, and I don’t really know what that means.’”

Brown practices relationship-based care. She uses objects to evoke memories in patients, such as books, toys, games, breathing exercises -- whatever is necessary for her patient to look at past experiences and examine how they'll impact the future.

Brown says Black people seeking support from a counselor or therapist is nothing to be ashamed of. She believes once you examine your mental health by looking at your past and present, it will better equip your future.

2gether as 1 / Bend / Central Oregon / News / Top Stories
Author Profile Photo

Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.



  1. Make progress? Yeah, someday African Americans might just become sports stars, entertainers, doctors, lawyers etc. Maybe even President and VP?
    Im tired of being told I’m racist, especially since I’m being told this by racists.

      1. The response is not to the article but to the need to produce such an article. Tobiah is a perfect example that the racism they are referring to is for the most part in the media. I couldn’t dispute that she had some struggles getting to her position but so would anyone of any color skin – that is because of the position. Racism was pretty much going away and becoming a nothing until Obama was elected and resurrected it.

      2. Excellent article? Really? Did you notice that there was no “history” in the article about black history. The last article on black history contained no history either. It did however contain this gem. “2020 a year ‘seemingly’ dedicated to dismantling struggles caused by racism and inequality”
        The operative word there is “seemingly” because it’s all a fraud. Even the subject of the article can’t bring herself to commit to it.

    1. Yep. I stopped listening when they started to try and make the argument that not seeing race in people is racist. What a joke. We need to stop segregating people by race and we will all be better off. Diversity of race means nothing compared to diversity of opinion, thought, and ideas. That is the diversity we should strive for. Take care of that and everything takes care of itself.

        1. Oh Tiozo you fell into the assumption trap my friend. I am neither fragile nor white but excellent work!😂 Keep trying to divide people by race and see how it works for you. My guess is that it ends pretty badly.

          1. nope – and you are no more clever than any of the people on the privileged side of the way things are and deny how things are – lets face it – its a mindset – ask Henry Tarrio – if you truly believe that different people don’t have different opportunity and different advantage in our country, what can anyone say to you? – if there is a possibility that an individual in this country is so sheltered that he/she believed that racism has been eliminated in our country, January 6th provided undeniable evidence – race is a construct, created for specific manipulative purpose, and it has no empirical validation – it doesn’t exist – racism, on the other hand is a collection of behaviors and beliefs and, unfortunately very real –

            1. Ahh but yet again it happens. I have never said that racism doesn’t exist. You are now spouting critical race theory ideas. If someone believes ppl should not be divided by race that does not mean they don’t believe racism exists. Of course it does, like in all countries, however it is in no way “systematic” in the US as the data back that fact up. But hey it’s ok that you assumed I was white by that belief. The great irony in that is that is an absolutely completely racist act. Nice work buddy. I couldn’t have proven my point better then you did for me.😂

      1. Indeed: The woke definition of diversity is a room full of people that look different but all think alike.
        An anonymous survey of New York Times journalists revealed that 51% of them do not feel safe in the workplace expressing thoughts and ideas. Critical thinking is dead, look no further than woke leftism for putting the final nail in the coffin of thought.

      1. Kapernicky was given a tryout prior to the 2020 preseason. The NFL arranged a site and several reps from interested teams agreed to show up. Colon did not show instead went to another field and taped his own tryout under his conditions. The guy has no intentions of returning to the NFL. Between his million dollar endorsements from Nike along with the lucrative business of being a social justice warrior this fraud is set for life. Brings us to the BLM organization who this summer through extortion of corporations and playing on liberal white guilt raised 100’s of millions of $$$. And to this date have you ever seen a report of the Marxist organization donating a substantial amount to improve a black neighborhood, school, hospital,etc.? Even the most clueless by now should be done with being played.

  2. It seems like there are a lot of mental health issues these days. I doesn’t seem that their is any special category of race. I think it is all people. I think we are all just people.

    1. your fear is palpable – must suck being stuck in a delusional existence completely disconnected from the world you live in, and the species you are part of

      1. Being that you are so fearless, connected and sane. Probably even a stable genius. Can you give a current example of structural racism without using circular logic, or name calling;)

  3. Two patriots, ex-NFL player Herschel Walker who said,” we use black power to create white guilt”. And Thomas Sowell’s discussion on the Legacy of Slavery. The Black community actually lost out when Trump was not reelected. Instead they now have biden along with the democrat’s who will put them back on welfare where they belong.

    1. Well, not really.

      You have misquoted Herschel Walker which means you didn’t do your homework.

      His full and accurate statement (listen to him carefully) is provided below at this link.–SIPp4zeg

      I have met and worked with Mr. Walker in the behavioral health field and he is one of the most articulate as well as thoughtful men I’ve had the pleasure to meet. Misinformation and/or bad information does no one any good.

      1. Walker used the quote in the context applied to his opposition of reparations. You’ll notice I used quotation marks for material that is reproduced. No surprise though libs predictably will divert to discredit anything they disagree with. Getting back to the reparation thing I say go for it. And in fairness let the dems the party of slavery and the KKK pick up the tab. The party of Lincoln has already paid the ultimate price.

  4. ” Instead they now have biden along with the democrat’s who will put them back on welfare where they belong.”

    Welfare is a lifestyle for some blacks, but they aren’t the only ones that would rather
    live on public assistance than work for a living…Back on welfare where they belong ? What the hell is that supposed to mean ?

    1. In all fairness, the welfare system has and is also a lifestyle for many whites.

      “The numbers reflect a significant overestimation of the number of black Americans benefiting from the largest programs. Medicaid had more than 70 million beneficiaries in 2016, of whom 43 percent were white, 18 percent black, and 30 percent Hispanic. Of 43 million food stamp recipients that year, 36.2 percent were white, 25.6 percent black, 17.2 percent Hispanic and 15.5 percent unknown. (Food stamps are formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.)”

      1. Ummmmmmmm, NO. According to the very article you linked: Welfare recipients, Black 29.1% White 27.6%
        Adjusted per capita (as all data should be) this means that black Americans (about 13% of the population) are consuming significantly larger amounts of welfare compared to white Americans. Huffpost deliberately chose to NOT adjust per capita to deceive the reader.
        You are welcome. Facts Matter.

    2. What that means is democrats use the welfare system to create a voting block dependent on their policies. Latest example allowing hundreds if not thousands of illegals detained at the border to now enter the US. Not only should we be concerned with the spread of the SA strain of covid. But also allowing thousands in while unemployment of Americans is rampant and proportionally affects the black community.

      1. Hopefully black Americans will realize that immigration hurts them the most and begin voting accordingly.
        I sincerely believe that the white,woke left actually despise black Americans and are using them to further their agenda.
        Their use of the word “tolerate” speaks volumes.

  5. Excellent article and the insights and suggestions by this therapist regarding behavioral health and why / how to sustain strong mental health resilience during these times, regardless of race, are spot on.

    That said – two members of the Bend city council have ensured ANY member of the Central Oregon Black Leaders Assembly are kept off consideration for the equality committee being formed. They are MELANIE KEBLER, who is closely affiliated with the Central Oregon Peacekeepers, and
    Megan Perkins, co-founder of Embrace Bend. Both council members are white.

    The below posted by COBLA founder and president Riccardo Waites on why this is.

    “As expected, I was not chosen for the Human Rights and Equity Commission being created by the City Council of Bend.

    “Before anyone gets to upset I want everyone to know the answer I got as to why. I quote, “Please know that the applicant pool was incredibly competitive and the Council had to make difficult decisions for a broad and balanced range of Council needs and priorities.” I am C.E.O. of a Black run nonprofit created to help Blacks and other people of color gain diversity, equity, and inclusion.

    “I am a 20 year resident of Bend. A father of the community. Business owner, and most of all I am Black and have first hand experience the treatment of people of color in Central Oregon and have a team of great volunteers who have the skill and experience to make change. i have worked with law enforcement to provide more safety for protesters. Challenged local officials and FBI onsite when the ICE busses were here. Asking only one question. “Are you going to try to hurt innocent community members if they do not disperse?” I am a Diversity Coordinator for Downtown Bend. I am on a Diversity and Equity committee in Prineville. I have spoken at over 20 Public events on change. Spoken about change in almost every newspaper and magazine in Central Oregon about change. NPR, KPOV ,Power 94, Fox sports. All talking about change. WHO WAS SO MUCH MORE QUALIFIED THAT THEY DECIDED THAT MY QUALIFICATIONS DID NOT EVEN DESERVE AN INTERVIEW. There is a reason I didn’t get considered for an interview. I know what it is and so does the people who made sure I wasn’t included.

    “Once again. Never thought they would choose me. I knew better. But to send me a patronizing, disrespectful letter with a fluffy answer to why I was not chosen. Shows that Bend has a long way to go in this D.E.I. life. Good luck to those who were chosen. I hope you consider our organization as a partner to change locally. We will be watching…and challenging.”

    Mr. Luke Richter, Central Oregon Peacekeepers, recently announced his intention to run for mayor in 2022. The two city council members noted are supportive of his run for office. They are also looking to “stack the deck” where the Equality Committee’s community members are concerned. By excluding perceived opponents of Mr. Richter, as well as someone who is on record as not accepting “fluff” from people in positions of power (e.g. the city council), both Perkins and Kebler are actively suppressing fair representation on the committee and trying to do so out of the spotlight.

    Well, welcome to the light of day, ladies.

    1. Why do we need an “equality committee”? If it to ensure an equal number of black skins are represented then we also need an equal number of brown skin, oriental skins, red skins, etc are represented. The challenge in doing this is are we going to do this at the expense of qualifications? If we were truly looking for diversity we would be working color blind and only looking for qualifications. Anyone who doesn’t think people of other skin color can get the necessary qualifications is the true racist.

  6. I enjoy when Athletes take knees as a team and people get offended. It shows their true colors and how much hate they have inside them. It shows that these aging white men either can’t grasp that we lack equality and justice or they are just purely racists and listened to Rush Limbaugh on the radio. Bye Bye Rush!

    1. Taking a knee might have real value if they could articulate what it is they are doing it for and back those claims up with data rather than feelings.
      Maybe they could explain precisely what law or policy they want changed. But when Lebron James says he terrified to go outside fearing police, it’s just pathetic.

    2. Lack equality? Where? I’m pretty sure that anyone can achieve what they desire if they put in the effort. Please explain what opportunities a white person has that a black person does not.

      1. There are certainly very successful people from all minority groups.
        They knew what they wanted in life, and were willing to put out the effort
        to achieve those things. They didn’t have time to waste sitting around complaining
        about how unfair life is…

  7. Maybe during black history month there could some black history? I know it sounds crazy but maybe feature some of the writing of Booker T Washington for example. It seems like black history is forbidden during black history month.

    1. The media and the left in general are obsessed about race, when it involves a
      black person. It’s almost impossible for them to discuss anything without mentioning
      that a person is black, even when the persons race has no relevance.
      They certainly don’t feel the same need to fixate on Indians, Mexicans or Asians…

      1. Let’s take a look. You have commented three times on this race centered article. You good buddy Gaslight, is a 10. Century01 also at three, along with Redmond. Moronlabe is at four. Are numbers hard for you? You may want to have whoever reads in your house to look up the definition of “obsessed” and explain it to you. Slowly, so you understand.

        1. This topic is no different than most of the others that I read and comment on.
          Most of my comments are usually in response to comments that others have made.
          In some circles it’s called dialogue. I know it’s probably a big word for you,
          but if you can simply type the word into the thing called Google, it will make
          it very simple to understand, even for someone like you…
          You obviously didn’t have very much to say about the topic, yet you had the time to go through all of the comments and tally up the comments from certain people.
          I’m not sure what point you were trying to make, or if you are just really bored
          and felt left out.

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