Minority Mental Health: Check on your "Strong" Friend
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As Minority Mental Health Month, comes to a close, lets refresh on why minorities need a designated month. Minorities often have less access to mental health services and receive a poorer quality of mental health care. They are less likely to receive a mental health diagnosis and therefore less likely to receive treatment for mental illness. This can be attributed to discrimination, cultural stigmas surrounding mental health care and just a lack of awareness about mental health.
Just this month alone we witnessed some signs of mental illness in the black community from prominent stars like, Kanye West, Nick Cannon and Tamar Braxton. These are all considered hard working and successful entertainers. They all recently had big wins, Kanye West became a billionaire, Nick Cannon landed a day time talk show, and Tamar Braxton starred in new VH-1 show.
"Mental illness is real", stated Tamar Braxton, as she recently broke her silence about her suicide attempt. She talked about how for the past 11 years she felt she was entangled in a business relationship that was primarily for the benefit of someone else rather than her self. Anyone that has witnessed Tamar in action, or any of the above mentioned celebrities, know they have strong personalities. They are very bold and confident. You would likely have never assumed they had mental disorders, feelings, or episodes without them having had shared them with the public.
Is there still a cultural stigma surrounding mental health in your community?
Do you think mental illness/disorders have a certain look (i.e. sad, poor, disheveled, lonely)?
If you answered "yes" to either of these questions what have you done or what will you now do to help combat the stigmas and preconceived notions?
I recall a small poster my mom gave my brothers and I when we were teens. It said something to the effect, "I am always here for you, whenever you need me. But if for some reason you call out for me and I don't come, come and check on me because I may need you." Its amazing that I still carry those sentiments with me and I think you should too.
Let's take care of ourselves first and then each other.
If you or someone you know is showing signs of mental illness/disorder there is a resource available to you 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
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There is an upcoming App that matches people of color with therapist of similar backgrounds.
With today's climate therapy sessions have also gone virtual, meaning you can have a session right from the comfort and privacy of your home. A lot of employers also offer some sort of free mental health service with your benefit package, even if its just one free session per enrollment. Take advantage of the resource.
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