Black people have been dealing with trauma going back to generations. It goes back to the rape and kidnapping of Africa, the lynches, the drugging of black communities, and to the police killings of our black youth.
Having a mental illness is stigmatized in the black community because people do not understand what it means to be mentally “ill”. Also, in our culture, any mental problems are seen as sign of weakness. Some people may mistake depression as being sad and something you can just snap out of. And going to therapy means your crazy. This stops people reaching out for professional help and even reaching out to family.
Many men struggle with the idea of being open and sharing their emotions. And for those who grew up as sensitive were ridiculed for what are natural and healthy expressions of emotion. Black men experience additional stresses from social and economical challenges and racial injustice. If they’re forced to suppress their feelings, especially the negative one’s, they’ll turn to ways to escape reality. They turn to drugs and alcohol and develop
Black women are have that burden of having to live up to the narrative of being a “strong black woman” . If your going through a hardship just swallow the pain and move forward. Yes black women are strong but sometimes it can be taken in the way that we’re not allowed to be vulnerable. Black women are so busy taking care of everyone else, that they don’t don’t take a moment to reflect on how there doing. It’s not until they can’t get out of bed or go to work, that they seek professional help.
The church has been the center of black communities. Black people have been taught to turn to the Bible with all their troubles and to pray the pain away. This may have worked during the Civil Rights era, but won’t work today. Mental illnesses can’t be prayed away, like a broken arm can’t be prayed away. The arm has to be treated or else it will get worse. The same goes for mental illnesses. There’s the idea that if you struggle with mental illness, you have a weak relationship with Good or that it’s a punishment for your sins.
There is a need for more black therapists and psychologist . I believe more black people would be open to seeing a therapist/psychologist if the person looked like them. It’s important for the client and the therapist/ physiologist to have connection. Therapy should be a place where people don’t have to be concerned about how they might be seen or understand. There are experiences that a black person in America goes through that only another black person would be able to understand.
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