Hey there. It’s May. Can you believe it? Not only is May an indicator of improved weather. May is also Mental Health Awareness month. This post is dedicated to all of my African American Kings and Queens and their mental health. It’s time to have a raw conversation about mental health. This blog post is not fluffy so if you’re looking for that feel free to exit now. If you’re not, let’s talk about it…
Within the African American community there are multiple dogmas concerning mental health. To name a few, these include: “What happens in this house stays in this house”, “Don’t tell anyone our business”, and I can’t forget “I am not going to no shrink”. These dogmas have been and continue to be isolating. Don’t get me wrong, one of the most beautiful things about the African American community is our ability to weather storms;however, we continue to do so in a way that increases the occurrence of trauma. When a person experiences events in isolation it unconsciously effects their mood, responses to the external environment, behaviors and thought processes.
So, what am I saying? The more you isolate yourself when in need, the more it damages your internal landscape and negatively impacts your mental health. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately 30% of African American adults receive mental health treatment each year, compared to the U.S. average of 43%.
Why would the African American community choose to unconsciously negatively impact their mental health?
Here’s 2 main reasons:
- Lack of trust: Historically African Americans have been exploited for others gain which makes it very difficult to be vulnerable with strangers. This does not just get “forgotten”.
- Lack of access to mental health resources: Let’s be real all therapists are not created equal. Also, most people want a therapist that looks like them with immediate availability.
Let me be the first to say, our community response to our intergenerational trauma has been necessary for our survival. I get it, I salute it. What I am saying now, is that we have to begin to move past the pain and toward healing. For healing to begin we must start to challenge and unpack these dogmas in safe spaces. Regardless, if you have experienced a break up, the loss of a loved one, homicide, domestic violence, child abuse, neglect or just want someone to speak with, therapy can help. Therapy is a form of self-care that can provide healing. You deserve healing. We all deserve healing. It is time we begin this journey.
If this resonates with you and you’re ready to begin this journey, please contact R.I.S.E. today by clicking here: https://risemdllc.com/contact/. We are here and we care.