Black Minds Matter!
Updated: Feb 17
Disclaimer: This blog post is proudly sponsored by Mindvalley, but all opinions are my own. Mindvalley is the largest online personal growth platform in the world. Choose from hundreds of personal growth programs and transformative content taught by brilliant minds, with results that stick. Mindvalleys' mission is to create personal transformation that raises human consciousness. As a Mindvalley affiliate, we may receive compensation, if you purchase products or services through the links provided, at no extra cost to you. This helps support the running of the blog.
Members of the black community are most likely to suffer from mental health issues, but a recent study suggests that they frequently do not get the treatment they deserve.
Studies have shown a correlation between unresolved mental health conditions and missing more days at work, leading to lower pay and a harder time climbing the career ladder.
This dynamic impacts people of colour overwhelmingly. This has crucial consequences because when faced with a mental illness, it affects the willingness of black people to stay working.
The study also highlights that black people are three times more likely to suffer extreme mental depression than Asians and almost two times more likely than Latinos and Whites.
The study points to inequalities based on gender: women are more likely to give up seeking mental health care than men and are more likely to lose many days of work as a consequence, placing their source of income at risk.
Racism and inequality can lead to depression and anxiety, as well as the stresses induced by violent crime, especially in communities where people are mostly black. For African American females, this is especially challenging.
It's Time To Talk About Mental Health In The Black Community
There is a lot of stigma, guilt and insecurity around mental health, and women are still dealing with the necessity to be resilient. They bury the issue and go to work to pay their bills, to earn money and to move forward.
Discrimination, along with the direct or indirect effects of violent crime, often contributes, especially in the black community, to depression, anxiety, and high psychological and physiological stress, black people are two and a half times more likely to die from a heart attack than any other race.
One of the reasons that many black immigrants are hesitant to pursue the mental health care they need is the threat of deportation.
The study showed that black people were less able to get the mental health care they required than non-Hispanic whites and Asians and, as a result, were at greater risk of losing their jobs.
My Story Keeya Dawson
Keeya Dawson tells her story as a 21-year-old African-American woman, currently studying at the University of Florida and dealing with mental health all her life.
There is a disconnect between black people and mental health in our country. This is primarily due to racism and prejudice in the medical field against black people. Our pain, not being taken seriously, is suppressed and diminished. That produces widespread mistrust that lasts for decades. With time, people tend to feel that they no longer require treatment, so it is easy to ignore symptoms of mental illness or the need for resources.
it is also not possible to address mental health with a one size fits all approach. Most studies are still Eurocentric and white-based, causing a total disdain for a population predisposed to depression and mental health disorders.
Black people are exposed, even genetically, to stress and fear from birth, which is known as intergenerational trauma. Yet we are behaving as if it does not exist. The media, magazines and even commercials put white faces on mental health conditions, causing more people to believe illnesses like ADHD, anxiety and depression are white people illnesses. They are not.
In comparison, we are not subjected to instances or descriptions of multiple psychiatric illness variants. You may end up thinking that there is nothing wrong with you if your symptoms do not match the 'standard protocol' or norms; it is what it is, don't worry about it, be strong, are what you tend to hear when black people talk to each other about mental illness.
I do have anxiety, which is genetic, as my friends and my family know. Yet I've been dealing with more visible symptoms lately than normal. Low attention span, random mood swings, impulsive thinking, and an inability to concentrate are my symptoms. By being locked up for a long time due to Covid-19, some persons I know attribute it to claustrophobia. Yet I didn't want to diminish how I was feeling anymore. Instead of denying it or thinking it was nothing, I took it upon myself to contact my doctor. I know that not everyone has the good-fortune or finances to do so. I know I am blessed!
We must avoid ignoring our mental health needs and stop ignoring our feelings because they are not what we see in the newspapers.
There has been so much adversity and pain confronting the black community, yet we are still dismissed as if we were made of stone, insignificant. We are not. To be heard is what we struggle for. There are not the heroic tales of those who are persisting in tyranny or coercion. We are dying, and nobody listens to us. Society and social media throws at us so much abuse and hate, but are we expected to believe we're all right? It's not fair.
There are so many wars that are waged by black people. It is exhausting going home and fighting anew with our own damn minds.
We're tired and we shouldn't have to die to be listened to by people. Start talking to your kids, their parents, your classmates, and those around you.
As a collective and growing as a nation, we should support and listen to each other.
We don't need to know everything, but it can be nice to be able to chat about your feelings and emotions with others without being told to be strong or ignore how you're feeling.
It's Not Just An American Problem
Paula Tabuenca, a young Spanish woman with African roots tells her story. The panorama is not very different despite being on another continent.
I have needed to go to a psychologist since I was 16 years old but due to various external factors such as the perception of mental illnesses within and outside the community (which seems to be that there is a certain tendency to think that the black population does not suffer from these types of diseases) and due to the lack of financial means have made me not yet ready to talk about it.
On the one hand, within our community, they have made us believe that everything we suffer or what is related to our feelings is part of life, this mindset has deprived so many of us of seeking help for our mental health. I myself have heard things like:
How can she have anorexia if those issues are not black?
Those diseases are White.
We blacks don't have those things.
Be strong, you'll get over it, queen!
This has to stop! Stop belittling the mental health struggles of black people!
It is important to come together as a community. And for those of you who are not part of it, at least try to be more empathetic to our struggles. If you have a black friend, be aware that they may be dealing with the same issues you are. Be kind. Be supportive, and for the love of God, be informed. Black Minds Matter!
This blog post is proudly sponsored by Mindvalley, but all opinions are my own. Mindvalley is the largest online personal growth platform in the world. Choose from hundreds of personal growth programs and transformative content taught by brilliant minds, with results that stick. Mindvalleys' mission is to create personal transformation that raises human consciousness. As a Mindvalley affiliate, we may receive compensation, if you purchase products or services through the links provided, at no extra cost to you. This helps support the running of the blog.