Mental health is relatively new in the medical world when it comes to recognizing that this is an actual illness and not just an act of someone being “crazy”. But what is mental health? Why is it diagnosed, and why aren’t more black people getting help? Mental health is defined as “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional being”. It is diagnosed by doctors or mental health professionals who will evaluate you and see if symptoms are present.
The Black community and mental health don’t seem to go hand in hand. Why is it that mental health seems to be overlooked? Well for one, most black Americans don’t want to believe that it is an issue. There is a huge stigma placed on the black community as it ties to mental illness. Black Americans do not recognize the post traumatic stress that has been bestowed upon them. This is a problem. Black Americans are conditioned to think that because they have survived so much, they can survive anything and that this strength does not come with any side affects.
Mental health can be applied to anyone, and the stigmas that have everyone believing that black Americans do not need help have to cease. There are barriers such as denial, embarrassment, not wanting help, no funding, fear, and lack of knowledge.
The millennial generation in the Black community will be the ones that become more aware and hopefully they get the help that is long overdue. Recently in the media, this topic has had some light shed on it. If you haven’t heard of the hit show “Empire”, you should definitely become acquainted. One of the characters, “Andre”, battles being bipolar and his role is definitely getting people talking. Check out the first season if you can before the premier of their well deserved second season next month!
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