Mental health within the Black and African American communities tends to be a topic that isn’t widely discussed due to it not being normalized. With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s a must to shed light on the importance of maintaining your mental health within this community and providing the reassurance that it’s absolutely okay to not be okay. As we experience the climate of today’s world, including police brutality more than ever, let’s explore ways to maintain your mental health.
According to Mental Health America, Black and African Americans make up 13.5% of the population. Out of that number, over 16% of people have reported having a mental illness within the past year.
As we’re exposed to what the media displays everyday, it’s getting quite hard to escape the police brutality that Black people are/have been experiencing. Seeing or hearing about a Black person being shot and killed, by the hands of the police at such an alarming rate, can cause a certain desensitization. Black people have to live this experience where they’re scared to simply have a regular life without looking over their shoulder wondering if they’re going to be next. According to WebMD, “Researchers found that, on average, Black Americans reported an increase in ‘poor mental health days’ during weeks where more than one deadly racial incident was in the news.”
With taking that into consideration, how many of those Black Americans are actually getting the help that they need to address their poor mental health due to police brutality? Sure, turning off the news could always be a way to escape that reality for a while, but that can only last for so long. Due to factors such as income, and not to mention the stigma that’s attached to mental illness, finding the help that is needed tends to be swept under the rug.
What are some ways that this can be turned around? First, for it to be understood that addressing your concerns does not mean you are weak, you are strong and brave! There’s enough that goes on in the world and if your mental health is hindering you from having to manage day-to-day, there are plenty of resources available to find a medical provider to help you. You are not alone and do not have to deal with this alone!