Mental Health In The Black Community, Let's Talk About It!
As we know, May is mental health awareness month, so let me start by saying, mental illness is REAL and it is nothing to joke about!!! Millions of American’s lives are impacted daily by mental health conditions. Did you know, approximately 43.8 million adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year and 2 out of 3 do not seek treatment? Wow, we just never know what issues people are REALLY dealing with, My guess is, some people don't seek treatment because of three reasons; denial, shame, or embarrassment.
For a long time, mental health was not something that was discussed in the African American community. The word "crazy" would be used loosely to describe an individual who didn't seem normal or who behaved in an irrational manner, but that was it. There were never extra measures or steps taken to get to the bottom of why this person was behaving oddly. Going to someone's office to lay down on their couch so you could bare your soul, was something that black folks only thought white folks did. According to the "National Alliance On Mental Illness,"Only about one-quarter of African Americans seek mental health care, compared to 40% of whites. Many African American's rely on family, community, and spiritual beliefs as their source for strength and support. While all three are perfectly fine, there are just some mental health issues and illnesses that require medical or therapeutic treatment. Therefore, healthcare professionals need to be sought out and the matter should not be blown off. African Americans DO NOT hold the highest rate when it comes to actually having mental illnesses; however, they do hold one of the highest numbers in the population of people who DO NOT seek help.
According to the" National Alliance On Mental Illness," here are some other reasons as to why African American's tend to NOT seek professional help for mental issues
Lack of trust and misdiagnosis. Historically, African Americans have been and continue to be negatively affected by prejudice and discrimination in the health care system. Misdiagnoses, inadequate treatment and lack of cultural competence by health professionals cause distrust and prevent many African Americans from seeking or staying in treatment.
Socio-economic factors play a part too and can make treatment options less available. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2012, 19% of African Americans had no form of health insurance. The Affordable Care Act is making it easier and more affordable to get insured.
Medications Some studies indicate that African Americans metabolize many medications more slowly than the general population yet are more likely to receive higher dosages. This may result in a greater chance of negative side-effects and a decreased likelihood of sticking with treatment
It's scary that so many American's, especially African American's, with mental illness go untreated. This causes harm to communities because it increases violence, and suicide rates. Untreated mental illness can also cause chronic physical health problems such as diabetes, asthma, arthritis or cancer. Homelessness, and job stability issues. Unexplained aches and pains, and worsening mental health problems.
Listen, this silence of mental illness is killing us. You'd be surprised at how many people are secretly suffering from depression and anxiety. You look at them on the outside and they seem just fine, but on the inside they are tore up. If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or whatever the case, don't be afraid or ashamed to seek professional HELP!!! Mental illness is not a black thing, it's not a white thing, or an Asian thing, it's a PEOPLE thing.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO REACH OUT!!!
National Prayer Line
United Way Crisis Helpline
Crisis Pregnancy Hotline Number
S.A.F.E. (Self Abuse Finally Ends)
( 1-800- DONT-CUT)
Drug Abuse National Helpline
Gay and Lesbian National Hotline
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