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Mental Health and The Black Community

Mental health

Our emotional, psychological, and social well-being all contribute to our mental health. It has an impact on how we think, feels, and act. It also influences how we deal with stress, interact with people, and make good decisions. Mental health is essential throughout life, from infancy and adolescence to maturity.

Why don't we prioritise our mental health with our physical health? Regrettably, due to the stigma associated with mental illness. Many are discouraged from obtaining adequate therapy because of how we see mental health. Addressing our mental health in the same way that we address physical illnesses early produces better outcomes. Much of the community's problems stem from a lack of mental health treatment. Drug addiction, violence, sexual abuse, along with many other difficulties may all be traced back to mental illness. We can heal one person, one family, and perhaps one community at a time by effectively treating mental health concerns.

The disparities in mental health

The causes for disparities in rates of poor mental health in the black community are diverse, and each person's experience will differ. Some of the reasons why persons from black backgrounds have a higher incidence of mental illness than others are suggested to be:

  • Inequalities in wealth and living standards.

  • Bias, discrimination, and racism in society.

  • Stigma about mental health.

  • Black people are less likely to have mental health issues identified in the criminal justice system.

  • People from black backgrounds are more likely to be living in poverty than people from other backgrounds, and people living in poverty are more living to develop or experience mental health problems.

The stigma

The black community is more likely to relate mental illness with shame and humiliation. People of colour are also more inclined to conceal their mental disorders. Black people may be more inclined to feel that they are strong because they have overcome so much adversity—and no one has the right to tell them that there is something wrong with them, since they may view a mental health issue as a weakness. Even with these stigmas attached to mental health in the black community, there are still statistics that show that there is a need for change in the community for them to overcome mental health. These statics are that:

  • Black people are 4 times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act

  • Black men are more likely to experience psychosis.

  • Black women are more likely to experience a common mental illness such as anxiety disorder or depression.

However, mental health issues are rarely acknowledged or discussed. This may prevent people from discussing their mental health or seeking treatment from a doctor.

Where to seek help

Seeking mental health assistance and support can be a challenging process at times. Individuals may be concerned about how healthcare experts may perceive them. This might be because they feel misunderstood, or because mental health services are inadequate to satisfy their requirements. It is the responsibility of mental health service providers to reform to make things right. Yet, there are certain things you may do to assist and improve your experience. You can do this by:

  • Asking for a healthcare professional who is from your ethnic background: Some people find it easier to communicate with someone who comes from the same or similar background. This might be because they believe they will be judged less harshly and have a greater feeling of empathy. You have the right to ask any Doctor in your practise.

  • Access therapy from a charity or private therapist: Some people prefer to speak with someone to whom they're able to connect with. The Black, African, Asian, and Caribbean Therapy Network includes therapists of Black, African, Asian, and Caribbean backgrounds. You can also join local charities, support groups, and online support forums.

  • Take a friend or relative to your appointment: You can bring someone you trust, such as a friend or relative, to your appointment. They can provide your assistance, which may minimize any worry you have about the visit. If you choose, the individual can speak on your behalf.

It is important that seeking help from specialists is encouraged among black people. Some organisations that enable this such are Black Minds Matter UK, British Asian Trust, and Therapy for Black Girls.

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