Having Mental Illnesses as a Black Person

It starts from being open about mental health. ”You have everything you need; what do you mean you’re depressed?” this is one thing that’s mentioned often in the black community. Black people are less likely to say they are mentally ill. Racism can affect mental health too.

Racism can range from micro-aggressions (subtle but offensive comments) to explicit hurtful words to verbal or physical aggression. Experiencing racism can be very stressful and have a negative effect on your overall health and your mental health. Being exposed to racism may increase your likelihood of experiencing mental health problems such as psychosis and depression.

Mental Health foundation

Dear Black Community,
You can’t simply tell your family to pray the mental illness away. You’re a believer, okay, so you believe we are here for a purpose from God. Why do we have psychiatrists then? If you break your foot, do you pray that away too? Yeah alright. No, take your family to therapy. Both can co-exist.
Faithfully yours,
Words By Mul

This applies to any religion.

Having any mental illness as a black person is difficult because it’s rarely taken seriously compared to white people. Let’s not act surprised please, it’s October 2021; keep up. Black people are more likely to receive poor care, because of this, less to seek any services.

– Black men are more likely to have experienced a psychotic disorder in the last year than White men

– Black people are four times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act than White people

Mental Health foundation

Having mental illnesses as a black person means you can’t be yourself. I’ve written about the strong black woman trope. I will never be that; frankly, I don’t want to, and I’d hope society let it go; this affects many black women’s mental health. Black women aren’t your trauma dumping ground.

We have come a long way but still, have an even longer way to go. I have grown to be open about my mental health, I haven’t always been comfortable with it, I don’t know anyone who’s personally open to talking about it, and I thought it has to start somewhere, someone and that someone is me. It’s not the most comfortable thing to talk about for many people, but to grow and better yourself, you have to have uncomfortable conversations. 

Having a mental illness as a black person means you, unfortunately, need to try twice or thrice as hard, sometimes shield yourself, because they will never understand, but as long as you know yourself, no one can tell you about you. It’s time we had the conversations, and it starts with us. 

Happy Black History month.

2 comments

  1. I like this post ❤️ definitely feel in the black community , that even if you tell someone your feeling depressed they just tell you work through or prey through it I stead of attempting to talk about it and how you grow from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for liking it 💛 and you’re right. It’s a rather complicated conversation to have, which is why I’ve taken it upon myself to write about it and even my own experiences. I hope and pray it’s helpful to someone even if it’s one person because I don’t want anyone to ever feel alone in this and I really do hope it gets easier for you, truly I do.

      Like

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