The Mental Health “Taboo” among African Americans


No Shame in Seeking Therapy Campaign

In the African American communities, therapy is often viewed as a service “for the crazy people”. African Americans have had a history of suppressing their pain and praying their way through their mental health issues. Many believe that seeking professional guidance to assist with their mental health can somehow tarnish their reputation or diminish their self-sufficiency. Other members of the black community have limited to no knowledge on their symptoms, diagnoses or even treatment options.  Therapy has carried a stigma of personal shame in the black communities which has prevented many in reaching out for mental health services. In many of the African American communities I’ve had the privilege of servicing, clients have been reluctant and nervous to engage in therapy.

Mental health issues don’t just affect one race of people; it affects all colors, genders and orientations. As mental health awareness has become increasingly prominent and progressive, it’s even more important for members of the African American community to seek these needed services. Historically, blacks have found their strength and way to cope through the church body and religious organizations. Although the church may still be a very useful source for many African Americans, it has not mastered a space or a place for mental health illness’ that have become increasingly present.

Mental Health should be viewed as a resource to navigate through people’s problems and not be viewed as a negative stamp of weakness. It’s okay to reach out for help! It’s also okay to use your religious source of strength while incorporating a mental health service! Don’t live in the world of “Taboo”, Do what’s BEST for YOU!

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