From enslavement through the Civil Rights movement, survival was often our people’s number one priority.
Showing “weakness” was something we just couldn’t afford to do. But times have changed – and how we talk about mental health has to change, too.
Many of us were taught that if we were struggling mentally, we needed to go to church, or work harder. Therapy was out of the question.
That could be why we, and especially our elders, “suffer more psychological distress” than white people, according to the Journal of Aging Studies – yet we’re much less likely to seek treatment.
Science today has a much better understanding of mental health – and studies show that racism means Black people experience mental illness at HIGHER rates.
It’s even MORE important that we have open conversations about mental health. But there’s a problem.
Stigma in our community means too many young people can’t talk about these issues with older friends and family.
We have to do away with the stigma and shame around mental health. It’s brave to be honest with loved ones about our struggles – we need to ENCOURAGE that!
Let’s commit to being open, supportive, and loving with all Black people when it comes to mental health. Because how can we be truly free unless we free our minds?