In honor of Black History Month, this post is to highlight the prevalence of need for mental health services for the Black community and the struggles within that intensify the need. Although I am a Black woman myself, I cannot speak for the community as a whole, so I will be sharing some studies that demonstrate the difficulties those in the community face that increase an overall need for services.
I believe it is important for each one of us to be aware of the struggles and needs of others so that we can all support one another with open minds and hearts!
The Black community makes up 13% of the American population and out of this population over 16% have reported the presence of a mental illness in the past year. For reference, that number described in the 16% is approximately 4.8 million people a
year reporting a mental illness (1.1 million report a significantly distressing mental illness). It is relevant to note that a role in the mental health struggles of this group are linked to the historical adversity those of ethnically diverse backgrounds face; the adversities include but aren’t limited to: race-based exclusion, lack of access to proper health care, educational programs, and economic resources
that correlate to the overall socioeconomic disparities that those within the Black community face.
When it comes to seeking help for mental health concerns, it can be intimidating for people in the Black community, as less than 2% of the American Psychological Association members are Black themselves; this doesn’t include those in other associations or with differing counseling degrees. The lack of representation and cultural competency is a valid concern. Keeping the extraneous variables (such as race-related adversity) that is inherently present in the lives of ethnically
diverse people is imperative to provide competent treatment.
As a Black professional I find it disheartening to read the statistics highlighting the need for mental health support and the prevalence of adversity/challenges facing those within my community, and to still see a lack of understanding in the professional space concerning these challenges we face. I am writing this post to reiterate in another space on the internet that the Black community has struggles
that take a mental/psychological toll on them. I am writing this post to share in the mental health community that we need to take initiative to ensure culturally competent, affordable, and accessible treatment is out there for not only the Black community, but for all people who need help and are struggling to feel
heard and supported. I am writing this post to hopefully help someone out there feel seen and heard, and to reassure you (whoever you are) that you deserve mental health support, and it is out there-maybe even right here at The Mynd Clinic!
Mental Health America (2020). Black and African American Communities and Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.mhanational.org/issues/black-and-african-american-communities-and-mental-health