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Importance of Mental Health in Black Communities

Importance of Mental Health in Black Communities

The status of mental health amongst Black families is at an all-time high. From previous generational traumas to the pandemic, mental health across the globe is becoming a strong issue the entire world organizations are trying to advocate more towards to provide more helpful services. 

Mental health levels for African American/Black are higher than ever, as many are reporting or being diagnosed with anxiety and depression. From the National Alliance on Mental Health and the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, “Black adults in the U.S. are more likely than white adults to report persistent symptoms of emotional distress, such as sadness, hopelessness and feeling like everything is an effort.” Financial security is an important factor adding to the psychological issues of Black adults, as many are living below the poverty line. Unfortunately, many Black adults will probably never receive mental health services because of stigma amongst the community, socioeconomic factors such as being excluded from health and social studies, provider bias, and inequal care. 

Some other mental health facts amongst the Black community include (Mental Health America, 2022):

  • Serious mental illness (SMI) rose among all ages of Black and African American people between 2008 and 2018.
  • Overall, 24 percent of Black and African American people have a bachelor’s degree or higher as of 2017. 
  • Women are the heads of household in roughly 30 percent of Black and African American homes, compared to 9 percent of white homes. 

With the growing number of Black mental health professionals growing, some Black families, teenagers, young adults, and adult may become more open to the idea of mental health awareness. In deciding which mental health professional to select, take into consideration questions such as if the professional has treated other Black clients or received training in cultural competence for Black mental health or if their treatment varies for various cultural backgrounds. Other important questions to ask or consider after an initial session with a professional will be how does they make you feel, do you feel heard and respected, does the professional understand and relate you? (National Alliance on Mental Health, 2022)

Best of luck on your mental health journey!

Sources:

https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Identity-and-Cultural-Dimensions/Black-African-American

https://www.mhanational.org/issues/black-and-african-american-communities-and-mental-health

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