Mental Health Stigma Persists and Devastates the Black Community.

Kiaira Wheeler

Photo credit: Photo courtesy UM-Flint

There has been a lack of understanding about mental health in the Black community. In the community, black people weren’t taught enough about different types of mental health, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorder, etc. But why is, the black community not taking mental health seriously? There have been stories about African American people dying due to their mental health and their families not noticing it. It’s very challenging to tell your family that you’re battling mental health. You may not be aware of their reactions. Still, many in the black community do not address the mental health concerns contributing to African Americans not expressing their thoughts and emotions.

The article Mental Health in Black Communities: Challenges, Resources, Community Voices highlights the difficulties that the black population faces with mental health. A study showed that at least 63% of African Americans believe having a mental health condition is a sign of personal weakness. In the black community, mental health is a challenging topic since people are not open to confessing their mental health condition. In the article, it states, “Additionally, many people seek support from their faith community rather than seeking a medical diagnosis.” In the black community, they practice spirituality when they face mental challenges other than getting professional help. In the community, they used faith as an essential role to help them gain strength and the intensity of finding hope and not depending on a professional to help them.

Mental Health America published  an article titled, Black and African American Communities and Mental Health, which is on  how African American people experience hardship and brutality more than white people, which significantly impacts the emotional health of both youth and adults. The article also targets how there were MHA screening data that indicate how Black African Americans show positive for depression self-identity. However, due to finding a way for African Americans to seek help, Black African American providers make up a smaller portion of black health. Additionally, African Americans are most likely to experience chronic and persistent rather than episodic mental health conditions.

Photo credit : NAMI ( National Alliance on Mental Health)

Additionally, in the article, there was a study conducted by Ward, Wiltshire, Detry, and Brown in 2013. According to the study, African Americans believe that expressing their emotions is a sign of weakness, and this perception prevents African Americans from not  getting treatment for mental illnesses. Further, an analysis exposes that African Americans reckon that mild depression or anxiety would be considered “crazy “in their social circles. This led to African American people not seeking the help they needed because they believed that the black community would discourage people from expressing that they needed mental health and feared that they would be labeled as deranged or psychotic. 

The article Addressing Mental Health in the Black Community targets how in the present day, “ stigma “ is associated with mental health concerns in the black community. It addresses how there is an idea that leads people to believe that mental health condition is a personal weakness due to negative stereotypes of attitudes of rejection. The article states, “Because of this lack of information about mental health issues in the Black community, it is not always clear when one may need it or where to find help. There is also a need for improved cultural awareness and corresponding responsiveness in the health care and mental health workforce.’’ This indicates that the black community is not taking mental health seriously because so many stereotypes cause black people in the community not to get enough of the help they need. There’s so much judgment and rejection in the black community that is building, and there are people battling depression or anxiety every day.

The article states that roughly 20% of black people are more likely to experience mental problems. The research discovered that black adults aged 18 to-25 also experienced a higher rate of mental health problems and a lower rate of mental health services. The article claims, “Lack of trust in the medical system due to historical abuses of Black people in the guise of health care, less access to adequate insurance,(lack of )culturally responsive mental health providers, financial burden, and history with discrimination in the mental health system.” This claim shows  that black people are being mistreated and discriminated against by mental health services and other insurance services. 

This has a significant impact on the community because the community needs to acknowledge that black people need help. Unfortunately, services are not pushing the knowledge of persuading the black community that seeking help is essential. Not only it’s a lack from the community, but it shows that it’s a lack within the government. The government needs to initiate helping the black community and finding ways to decrease the mental health rate within the black community. 

I believe there could be a change to help the black community seek mental health services. First, there needs to be an end to discrimination. The government needs to take the initiative to advocate for helping black people. Mental Health needs to be taught in school and help push the black community to understand that getting the help they need is okay. There should be mental health programs for black people to learn about the various forms of mental diseases and to recognize the signs and causes of mental illness.In Black families, there needs to be programs to help families talk about in their household, so their loved ones don’t feel misunderstood because it’s essential to have people to support you and not feel judged. 

Categories: Health

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