With it being Black History Month I wanted this blog to focus on mental health in the African American community.
Mental Health Statistics in the African American Community*
- In 2014, Over 6.8 million African American persons have been diagnosed with a mental illness.
- Adult Black/African Americans are 20% more likely to report serious psychological distress compared to the adult white population.
- Black/African Americans make up 40% of the homeless population, people experiencing homelessness. They are at a greater risk of developing a mental health condition.
- Adult Black/African Americans are more likely to have feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness than the adult white population.
- Only about one-quarter of African Americans seek mental health care, compared to 40% of the white population.
Stigma in the African American Community
One of the core barriers to the aforementioned is stigma. Stigma is ravaging our communities and keeping them from accessing very necessary services. For the most part, our coping mechanisms allow for us to lead productive lives. However, they don’t allow for us to live as liberated as we possibly can and become our best self. A line from the amazing Black Panther movie, “Just because something is working, doesn’t mean it can’t work better.”
There is a stigmatized way of thinking that seeing a therapist means you’re “crazy” or have debilitating issues. Do people struggling with crisis and catastrophic issues need therapist? Yes. Do people who are functioning on a daily basis, going to work, raising children and maintaining intimate relationships need therapist? Again, Yes. Therapy can be a safe space for you to work on yourself and make those improvements to become your best self.
Being a Black man and a Therapist
As a black man who is a therapist I love that I get to bring visibility and awareness of mental health to the African American community. Those moments where a Black mother wants her Black son to go to therapy and prefers for him to see an adult black man in that role of expertise. Also, in my role as a therapist I get to use my visibility to normalize mental health in the African American community. I get to show others that mental health is important and you don’t have to apologize for making it a priority. I LOVE being a therapist and doing my part to provide support to the community.
We at Amy Wine Counseling always want to send a reminder of the importance of being your best self and how using mental health can help. Feel free to email or call us 832-421-8714 to ask about counseling services and start becoming your best self.