By: Anna Boyd
Getting treated for mental health has always had quite a stigma around it. This prevents many individuals in need from getting the help they need. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 people will struggle with a mental illness at some point during their lives.
In the black community, mental health issues are compounded by the stress of systemic racism. Due to this, black communities are 20% less likely to report pyscological distress than white adults. 1 in 3 blacks will struggle with undiagnosed mental health issues and receive treatment.
In black communities there is a large sense of distrust of the medical establishment, blacks are misdiagnosed at much higher rates what whites. They have also been exploited by the medical community for the sake of medical advancement.
Seeking mental health care is often viewed as a weakness. There is a survivalist mentality that stems from chronic racism and systemic oppression. To destigmatize mental health care within black communities requires a shift in the harmful media narratives.
Increasing culturally competent care for stigmatized communities could be effective in this issue. Centers run by practitioners who have a firsthand understanding of challenges faced by these communities would positively impact them greatly.