We Need to Talk About Mental Health in Minority Communities

Let me start by saying mental illness can affects anyone! Men, women and children. Every race. Every culture. Depression does not discriminate. However, every culture and community handles the illness and stigma differently.

With that being said, why is it so hard for minorities to first, acknowledge mental illness? And second, get help and information? I went searching for books on Black women and depression. Then Latina women with depression. Crickets. I found, maybe four books. And three were over 15 years old. Sad. And don’t even think about trying to find a therapist or psychiatrist who is Black or Latino! Few and far in between…

In our communities we are taught to “suck it up,” “keep it movin’” and “keep your business to yourself.” This prevents us from learning and growing. We don’t acknowledge the symptoms. We don’t share our feelings. We won’t seek therapy. Generations can carry these illnesses and not even know it. I didn’t know how many of my own family members struggled until I was sitting in the hospital. Maybe if I had this information earlier, I could have gotten the appropriate help.

So if we won’t acknowledge mental illness, then that would explain why our authors don’t share more. Everyone is afraid to open up. And this prevents us from receiving funding and centralized information.

It’s time to pull the cover back and let the light shine on this problem. Our children are struggling. We need more doctors and therapists in our communities. We need more information in our communities. We need to stop being accepting of “tangible” illnesses like diabetes but in denial about illnesses like bipolar disorder. All health conditions need to be acknowledged and treated!

They say if you know better, you do better. We have got to do better. Our survival depends on it.

Unsplash photo via Samantha Queja

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