Mental Health in the Black Community
Wellness has been a topic on the minds of many in recent years. The COVID pandemic has only exacerbated mental health issues around the globe. Added to that, recently, the world has been exposed to social inequities that are particularly affecting the black community and have affected the community for centuries. Conversations that we should have been having for quite some time have now come to the fore. We have now given words to the unfair experiences that people of color have to face. Words like “white privilege,” “racial battle fatigue,” and “systemic racism” are now commonplace. Blacks face mental and emotional stressors specifically brought on by living in a racist society that is unique to them. While each Black person has their own unique experience, there are some common shared experiences that they all must battle from time to time. These negative experiences have a significant impact on their mental health.
The Difference in the Black Struggle
There are various disparities in life that all human beings experience. Regardless of skin color, abuse, neglect, sickness, aging, health problems, and economic pressures affect many. Blacks have the added stress of generational disparity, stigmatism, microaggressions, racism, discrimination, and socioeconomic disparities. According to an article published by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, over 11% of blacks living in the US in 2018 did not have health insurance, and according to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, black adults have a higher likelihood of reporting persistent symptoms of mental and emotional distress.
Unfortunately, there is also a stigma in the black community about seeking mental healthcare. A study that was done reported that more than 60% of black people believe that mental illness and personal weakness go hand and hand. As a result of that stigma, black individuals who require mental healthcare may be reluctant to seek it out. Individuals of color may even suffer from physical effects due to the mental stress of being black. These physical symptoms could manifest themselves as autoimmune problems, fatigue, pain, and digestive issues.
Women Seeking Out Therapists of Color
The overwhelming majority of mental health professionals are white. When a black woman goes to a therapist, she wants to feel heard. There are nuanced battles that she may experience daily, and these are not concepts that she wants to have to explain to her therapist. She wants someone who gets it. Things like demeaning and dismissive behavior assumed guilt, assumed unintelligent, assumed violent behavior, and being treated like a citizen of less importance can have a huge impact on an individuals’ mental health. Add to that, when a black woman works in an environment where there are few black people, she faces even more pressure from her peers.
These are all issues that a black woman wants to be able to share with a therapist. However, if the therapist is not a minority and has not received training to work with a person of color, he or she may have a difficult time relating to the black client. For this reason, a black woman may seek the care of a black therapist.
Therapy for Black Women
In the past, serious mental disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar, and anxiety were not often addressed in black communities. Black families were doing their best to survive. Now, more and more black women are standing up and not only dealing with their own mental and emotional needs but they are also reaching out to other women of color for support. They are seeking out therapy for women of color and from women and men of color.
They realize that they need to stand up for themselves and stand together to get their mental needs met. It has been an unfortunate case that some black women have felt unheard or ununderstood when seeing white therapists and practitioners. Not because the therapists were not professional, but it is challenging for a white woman or man to understand the struggles of living in America as a black person. Savvy black women are making a Herculean effort to find mental health practitioners, but searching for a black practitioner can be exhausting, and some women have given up. The good news is that there is still hope.
Finding a Black Therapist Network
If you are a black woman interested in dealing with a black practitioner, then there are more resources available to you than you might imagine. The following is a list of black therapists’ networks or platforms.
Our platform offers a connection to black therapists by city and state. Not only can you connect with therapists, but physicians, specialists, and doctors that share similar or the same backgrounds, race, or ethnicity as you.
Put Mental Health First
Black women in America have to face several challenges and barriers. At the same time, America is in a new era. We are living in a time of awareness and understanding. This does not mean that the world has to understand the black community perfectly, but black women, as a community, are understanding themselves better. Our physical and mental health are our greatest wealth, so we have to prioritize our mental health. Black women no longer have to feel like there are no resources available to them. Now, more than ever, there are individuals in the community who are making mental health care accessible to women and men of color. Black women have the tools to make their mental health a priority to live their best lives.
Making connections is what we do. We’re here to help patients find you when they need you most. Connect2Heal removes the barriers people of color face when seeking a provider that looks like them. Our platform allows you to be more visible to the community of people that seek your expertise. Connect with us now.