Mental Health Stigma in the Black Community
Tura Johnson, LMFT
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health awareness is important due to the history of stigmatization. This stigma has affected people’s ability to acknowledge their struggle with mental illness, and their ability to access needed services. The goal of this month is to reduce the stigma and provide education about mental illness and the ways it impacts people’s lives.
Some common myths about mental health are:
Mental health doesn’t affect me. The fact is that mental health problems are common. 1 in 5 people will have a mental health condition in their lifetime.
Having a mental illness means you are “crazy.” The fact is that you are not “crazy.” Having a mental illness means you have symptoms that are challenging similar to someone who has a medical other condition.
People who experience mental health symptoms will never recover. The fact is that when treated, people can live happy and meaningful lives. Mental health conditions are treatable the same as other medical conditions.
Therapy is not for Black people. This myth stems from the difficulty with finding professionals who look like them or have shared community experiences. In addition, the history of mistreatment by the medical field adds to this mistrust and myth. Everyone wants to have shared experiences with their providers. If you find yourself struggling to find a provider, you can still find a provider who is trained in cultural competency.
Therapy cost too much. The fact is that access to adequate care and medical insurance are barriers to receiving services. There remains a huge disparity in access to mental health care. There are ways to access low-cost mental health services. One way is Open Path Collective. This resource can provide you access to therapists who provide services at a low reduced fee of $30-$80 per session. Another way is to ask providers for a reduced fee or sliding scale. Many providers save therapy slots
There are many more myths that contribute to the stigma of Mental Health, and people not receiving care. Mental health is real and you’re not alone. Help is available.