It's Minority Mental Health Awareness Month!
Today's post is dedicated to African American mental health.
Here are six facts about Black Mental Health:
Black Americans are as likely to suffer from mental illness as whites. The APA reports 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. will suffer from some kind of mental disorder each year. And, African-Americans are at least as likely to suffer from a mental health issue as their white counterparts.
Relatively high rates of poverty increase likelihood for mental health issues. Poverty disproportionately affects the black community, due in part to the legacy of slavery, segregation and racial discrimination in America. Poverty also affects mental health. Poverty increases the risk for mental health issues, which may then render an individual unable to work and afford basic needs, including treatment.
Racism in care still exists. This is compounded by the fact that African-Americans make up less than 2% of APA members.
Barriers in access to adequate health care make it harder to get help. Anticipation of encountering racism coupled with the challenges of paying for care may make the prospect of getting help daunting for black Americans. Racial disparities persist in health care access.
Black Americans use prayer to cope with stress or mental illness. One study cited by the APA said that 85% of African-Americans would describe themselves as "religious," and that their most common way to handle stress is through prayer. For people without adequate access to adequate medical care, prayer may be a primary method of dealing with mental illness as well.
Stigma in the community may discourage people from seeking treatment. First lady Michelle Obama addressed the need to reduce the stigma of getting professional help when needed. "There should be absolutely no stigma around mental health. None. Zero. ... Getting support and treatment isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength."
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