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Mental health in the Black community: Are you in need of help?

(Photo credit: Shutterstock.com / fizkes)

Have you ever felt like the walls are closing in on you? Do you wake up every day filled with dread and trepidation? If so, you’re not alone.

Here’s my confession: I’ve been to therapy. I recall the first and last time I had that conversation with a close family member. It took several years for me to admit that I was depressed and despair was consuming my life. From the outside, I was the life of the party, but internally I was battling circumstances and childhood experiences that I didn’t know how to handle.

The coronavirus pandemic has tested our sanity and increased our fear and anxiety. We’ve been quarantined in the same space for almost a year with no end date near. The economy is steadily declining, and job losses are numerous. Financial instability and stressing about how you’ll feed your family consumes your thoughts. Your boiling pot of stress, depression and anxiety is at its highest. Is this you?

Often, there is a misconception about mental health, especially in the Black community. I’m sure you’ve heard, “you’re not White. Black people don’t go to therapy.” The assumption is you have two choices: 1) pretend it doesn’t exist, and 2) pray on it with expectations of pushing through it or getting over it. My mother would reiterate the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Really? I don’t think so. What doesn’t get dealt with will kill you mentally, emotionally and, worst-case scenario, physically.

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