When it comes to addressing mental wellness our community story goes a little something like: We have persevered and been resilient through slavery, racism, policy brutality, etc., we can surly survive a little sadness, anxiety, and depression. Just leave it in God’s hands, and He will see us through. Recent studies show that receiving professional services for mental wellness continues to be a taboo or stigma among the African American community. Additional studies also show that those who are willing to receive assistance generally cannot afford the services due to socioeconomic challenges.
Research further indicates that those within the African American Community is 20% more likely to report serious psychological trauma and distress, but are less likely to seek treatment, and/or end treatments prematurely than adult Whites. The question of how to address this issue within the African American community has been a long standing one. Beyond breaking through historical faith, spirituality, and community norms regarding the need for such services, accessibility and mistrust of the healthcare industry also plays a role in why some within the community are not as open about seeking help.
Healthcare professionals within the mental wellness industry must also do a better job of building trustworthy relationships within the African American community. Time and time again there have and continues to be cases of prejudice, discrimination, and the lack of cultural competence within the healthcare system. As a result, there have been experiences of misdiagnoses and inadequate treatment that has caused a level of distrust which prevents some from continuing necessary mental wellness treatment or being open to receiving treatment at all.
There is also an issue with personal accountability. The community must do a better job of taking care of itself. Mental wellness is not just about one’s mind, it includes physical and spiritual health. It is our personal responsibility to commit to healthier lifestyles that include exercise, proper nutrition, and talk therapy. Taking such actions reduce depressive symptoms, changes emotions, and influences the mood
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