Race-based anxiety is a major health problem for Black Americans, yet there are few interventions to address this issue. Thus, we created “healing attempt,” a brief (~40 minute), digital music-based mindfulness intervention consisting of originally-composed meditations, songs, and poetry, all of which are set to music tracks rooted in Black music traditions (e.g., soul). The intervention features contributions from world-renowned Black collaborators such as esperanza spalding (all lowercase) (five-time Grammy-award winning musician), Lama Rod Owens (renowned meditation teacher), and Terry Edmonds (former chief speechwriter for President Clinton). In three preliminary studies, we demonstrated that “healing attempt” can reduce race-based state anxiety (i.e., momentary anxiety) and improve mindfulness/self-compassion in Black Americans. Accordingly, the goal of this project is to further develop “healing attempt” and assess whether the intervention can elicit lasting improvements in race-based trait (i.e., persisting) anxiety, mindfulness, and self-compassion; we will also assess whether music streaming platforms (e.g., Spotify) represent a feasible pathway for implementing the intervention. We will conduct a preliminary feasibility trial (Aim 1), a feasibility of implementation study (Aim 2), and a preliminary effectiveness trial (Aim 3) towards these ends. Overall, this project can herald a scalable and culturally relevant mental health intervention for Black Americans.

Matthew Nock, PhD

Harvard University


Grant Jones

The Black Lotus Collective; Harvard University

Grantee, Reviewer, Steering Council Member