Strong Black folks can still lose. This principle is vital when discussing mental health in our community.
63% of Black individuals say mental illness indicates weakness, according to a 2013 research. Mental health is a taboo subject in the Black community because we're encouraged to be strong and keep our heads up. Sometimes we need an umbrella, and that's okay (and maybe even a raincoat and boots too).
It's okay to not be okay: Getting rid of the stigma
Events like the deaths of 2019 Miss USA Cheslie Kryst and Ian Alexander Jr., the son of Oscar-winning actress Regina King, are striking reminders that everyone is battling hidden internal battles, and that the mental health and suicide problem among Black children is serious. This detrimental stigma regarding mental health in our community can make people feel humiliated and prevent them from seeking treatment.
Mental fitness is as vital as physical fitness. Even more so in the previous two years, when we've all been through so much: a worldwide epidemic, America's "reckoning with race" and police brutality, and even just the strains and triggers of everyday life. It's okay to be upset. Taking care of our mental health is crucial for survival.
With names like "Strong Black Woman," many Black females in America claim they feel like they have to be superwomen, which isn't healthy. More Black women are embracing the #softlife, meaning they don't want to deal with bad times or carry the world's weight.
Black women and men are expected to be strong, which is made worse by hypermasculinity. Let men and boys cry or display #blackboyjoy. We're tough and strong, but that's not all. Labels and preconceptions don't allow us to be flawed or struggle, which we all are and sometimes do.
Getting the Talk Started
More Black public leaders and celebrities are working to normalize and normalize this discourse. Gabrielle Union and Taraji P. Henson have discussed their anxiety and despair.
Taraji's project began in 2021, and it helps Black students who are lonely. The Initiative is part of the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, which she founded in honor of her mentally ill father.
"We wanted to get Black folks talking about mental health," Henson told Town and Country. "When we talk about our experiences, we realize we're not alone. We shouldn't face adversity alone.”
Seeking out help
Even after admitting we have mental health problems and need treatment, receiving care can be difficult, especially for Black people. One in three Black Americans who need mental health care receives it.
This may be due to variations in mental health care, money, family, or finding a therapist who knows their culture. Many organizations and organizations strive to help Black people find healing spaces, treatment, and mental health resources to reduce the access and community gap. BEAM, Black Men Heal, Therapy for Black Girls, and the Loveland Foundation are well-known organizations.
Self-care is key to helping others. Lauryn Hill sang, "How you gon’ win when you ain't right within?" You can't construct your future or break family curses without self-care. Taking care of your health and happiness is a radical act of black joy.