Black History Month: A Mental Health Perspective

Black History Month provides us with an opportunity to recognize the contributions of African Americans to our society, while also being a time to reflect on the struggles and challenges that African Americans have faced throughout history. As therapists, at the forefront of our minds is how the history of this population has impacted the mental health of those within it. The consequences of overlooking mental health issues within the African American community are dire, though they frequently remained undiscussed.

Common mental health issues are found among African American communities, yet they often go unaddressed or undiscussed by members in and outside of the community. This is due to cultural stigma, unattainable access to mental health resources, or fear of discrimination and stereotyping. Regrettably, this often means that many African Americans do not receive the care they require when it comes to their mental health. In fact, studies have shown that African Americans are less likely than other racial groups to receive mental health services, even when they need them. Barriers to this care include finances, lack of insurance coverage, and cultural stigmas surrounding mental ailments.

In addition to these barriers, there is also a lengthy history of racism and discrimination against African Americans in the United States that contributes to reduced mental health outcomes. These experiences include police brutality, unequal access to education and employment opportunities, and systemic racism in healthcare settings. The collection of these experiences can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and other mental ailments.

It is important that we recognize the unique challenges faced by African Americans when it comes to their day-to-day lives and to their mental health. We must work together as a society to ensure that everyone has access to quality mental health care and resources, especially marginalized populations. We must also strive to cultivate an environment where people feel safe discussing their mental health without fear of judgment or discrimination. Here at Carolina Assessment Services, we want everyone to know that they are seen, heard, and fought for. Happy Black History Month, we fight with you, for you, and alongside each of you.

This blog was written by our very own intern Kali Blue. She is currently receiving a masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of South Carolina. Kali is passionate about assisting clients through trauma, grief, anxiety, depression, and much more. She usually takes an existential approach to counseling, and is currently seeing clients Mondays through Thursdays. Book an appointment now by calling our office!

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