National Institute of Mental Health Reported in 2017 about 30% of black people sought mental health services Compared to about 48% of white people. In 2017 the prevalence of any mental illness was higher amongst women (22.3%) than that of men (15.1%).
Contrary to popular belief that women are “crazy”, no we are not and please don’t be fooled by those statistics.
It was 2017, when I found my “fairy-god auntie” as I like to call her, it was about three months after I had my son and realized I was having a hard time coping… with everything. I needed to talk to someone, other than my friends or family members who oftentimes just said I was, “tripping” and brushed whatever I needed to vent about under the rug.
The problem with me and I’m sure many other black women was my pride stood in the way of me going and seeking therapy a long time ago. I went to therapy about 10 years ago for a short period of time, and when I say short, I mean shhhoorrrttt, I probably only gave it about 2 sessions if that. I wasn’t convinced some 60 something-year-old white man could relate to my problems as a 19-year-old black girl, I mean let’s be serious how was I about to walk into his office disgusted about the brutal police killings of young innocent black men, or the fact almost every black man I came across had 3 kids with 3 different women… he just wouldn’t have gotten it.
After failing my first attempt at making myself “whole” I convinced myself maybe I was just being sensitive. Speaking to people about my attempt at seeking help for whatever problems I knew I had really had them calling me, “crazy”. I’ll never forget I went on a date, and somehow we started talking about therapy, I casually mentioned I went to therapy and he gave me the craziest side-eye for the rest of the night, I was almost sure he was texting his boy on the low asking him to call and say there was an emergency just to end the date; and as you guys probably guessed no we never went out again. The saddest part about a black woman actually trying to get herself together is being associated with the stigma that she’s crazy because she’s enlisting help.
I suffered in silence for 10 more years, out of fear I’d be judged if I went back to therapy.
I see so many young black women and men walking around angry, at the cards they’ve been dealt and I could relate up until a few years ago until I realized I didn’t have to walk around everyday putting up a front. When I say I shed 10 pounds after my first appointment, y’all just don’t know. I have been able to talk to my therapist about everything under the sun, and I look forward to doing it. We need to break the cycle and the stigma associated with people of color seeking treatment. Seeking treatment is no admission to any mental illness if anything it’s an admission to wanting more for yourself. Making yourself a priority isn’t something we are always taught but fortunately, it’s something that can be learned.
Making sure taking care of YOU comes first.
If you are experiencing anxiety and are in need of crisis support, please call the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
If you are experiencing depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
Until next time,