This is one topic that is so close to my heart because I see many of us dying from it.
In the typical Black/African community, there is a negative stigma surrounding mental health in our communities. Instead of seeking professional help for conditions such as depression, anxiety, and many other mental illnesses, Our
Community would turn to self-medication such as drugs, alcohol, and much more hoping to solve their own problems.
I brought up the issue of mental health with many Africans. I usually get comments like "We don't have a problem with mental illness in the African community", " it's an American thing", "Africans don't have such sickness". Our people are struggling with depression on a regular based but refuse to seek help. Telling others you have a therapist, would get you looks of disgust.
I see an urgent need for conversation around mental illness within African and African American communities. According to the Office of Minority Health,“Adult African Americans living below poverty are three times more likely to report serious psychological distress than those living above poverty.”
1 in 3 African who needs mental health care services receives it.
Many factors leads to us not having or seeking any mental health services, for instance; being a war soldier back home, difficulties interacting with other communities, financial stability, fear of failing, difficulties accepting or changing the stigma they have behind mental health and much more. Let's take a stand on mental health.