The Black Mental Health Saga

The human brain, like any other muscle in the body, can be overworked and when left untreated can lead to mental health issues. We all take a ride on life's roller-coaster from time to time, but mental health issues stretch beyond the "normal" stressors of life. Mental health conditions can cause major changes in an individual’s everyday life. Most mental health conditions can alter a person’s life balance, making ordinary interactions and communication a struggle. Like many health conditions, without proper treatment mental health issues can worsen.

Although anyone can develop a mental health condition, minorities can experience more severe forms due to social, environmental, and economic barriers. According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, Black Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health trouble than the rest of the general population. Mental health disorders among minority communities include but are not limited to:

  • Major Depression
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 

Many minorities are hesitant to discuss mental health issues because of the shame and stigma associated with these conditions. Several individuals have trouble recognizing the signs and/or symptoms of mental health conditions which often leads to underestimating the debilitating effects they can have on their lives. Some may think of depression as a phase or something that will eventually pass.

Historically, minority communities have been and continue to be negatively affected by prejudice and discrimination in the health care system. Misdiagnoses, inadequate treatment, and lack of cultural competence has seemed to cause distrust; this has stopped many people from seeking treatment or continue treatment once started.  

The fear of what others may think should not stop you or anyone you know from seeking professional help. 1 in 5 people are affected by mental illness.  Even if you don’t talk about it the chances are you or someone you know are being affected.