What Happens When Racial Stressors Get To Be Too Much
Despite our resilience, many Black people are deeply affected by mental health disorders. According to the US HHS Office of Minority Health, Black adults are 20% more likely to report serious psychological distress than whites.
And it’s no wonder, given the hardships of living in a racist society that devalues our humanity - we are more likely to have depression, anxiety, and PTSD, and rates of suicide among our children are increasing...
That’s not all. Black people are more likely to have feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness than whites.
Sadly, Black teenagers are more likely to attempt suicide than white teenagers are (8% v. 6%), and research shows that suicide risk among Black Americans is increasing in younger age groups.
We also deal with racism-related stressors that are uniquely felt by gender. For men, masculine ideals dictate that opening up about feelings is “too soft,” which can make dealing with emotional challenges very difficult.
And Black women deal with negative stereotypes that affect how people see them and how they see themselves that can give rise to anxiety and depression.
We have to understand the extent that racism-related trauma, like violence, everyday racial microaggressions, and witnessing video of police shootings affects our mental health, so we can lessen the stigma, support each other, and fight for our happiness.
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