Destigmatizing Mental Illness in the Black Community

Minorities represent a large portion of the American population who do not receive adequate care and attention regarding their mental health.

A silent stigma of mental health disorders specifically stains the black community. The mental health crisis affecting black Americans is serious and deserves greater national attention.

According Mental Health America, black Americans make up 13.4%, or just over 46 million of the total population, but 16% of black Americans suffer from various forms of mental illness. The most common mood-affecting illnesses in the black community include anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, and psychotic and schizophrenic disorders. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center also found in a 2020 study that people of black and African American ancestry between the ages of 25 and 34 account for 11.4% per 100,000 people of the national suicide average.

Suicidal thoughts can be persistent in those with the lesser-known Persistent Depressive Disorder, or PPD. Also called high level depressionPPD is a mood disorder that manifests when a person suffers from chronic depression for two or more years. psychology today reports that a person with high-functioning depression disorder may not mimic the ideal role of a person with major depression, as that person will continue to follow their daily routine while experiencing bouts of depression.

In 2021, the former Miss USA 2019 Chelsie Kryst death by suicide. On the surface, many thought his life seemed “perfect”. However, after his death, Chelsie’s mother revealed that the late beauty queen suffered from high-level depression. The revelation sparked a flurry of conversations about mental health in the black community and the pressures on women of color in particular.

More than thirty percent of black women are spearheading single-parent households as a sole supplier, which is known to induce significant stress and pressure to excel for themselves and others in their care. Furthermoreonly black women with mental health disorders tend to neglect self-awareness and wellness practices by presenting their mental health problems as invalid or less serious in nature.

Attributes such as Race, economy, accessibility and credibility contribute to the growing contempt and mistrust between black Americans and medical professionals. The stress of browse resources finding mental health professionals or treatment that specifically caters to Black Americans without implicit medical bias channels frustration among those seeking help. This hesitation triggered the startup of several online platforms and applications, such as Health in its shade and OkMissthat create opportunities to connect diverse communities in Black America to trusted healthcare professionals and providers.

For more resources for Black communities, click HERE.

If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text “FORCE” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected with a Certified Crisis Counselor.

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