Mental Health in BIPOC

Mental Health

Mental illness does not discriminate based on race, age, or gender. That said, it is also worth noting that people of color experience higher rates of the illness.

Several key factors play into this, including the stigma surrounding mental illness.

For example, Black people are less likely to receive support services, despite 35.1 percent of Black youth experiencing a major depressive episode. This has to do with cultural stigma and the lack of resources in Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities.

“Don’t tell family business” is the idea behind one cultural stigma against seeking mental health services in the Black community. Due to this, young people often do not reach out for help.

Black people are not the only minority group that struggles with mental illness either. According to reports, “Asian American adults were less likely to use mental health services than any other racial/ethnic group.” Non-white Hispanics, Alaskan Native youth, Pacific Islanders, and people from two or more races also experience mental illness at significantly higher rates.

Trauma in Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color Communities

In addition to everyday life now, BIPOC people have to deal with a pandemic and increase racial tension across the world. For the Black community, especially, the recent racial tensions have been difficult to handle.

It is important for those who struggle with their mental health to acknowledge it, rather than fake a smile or hide their pain. Ending the stigma around mental illness starts with acceptance and asking for help.

However, asking for help can be difficult to do when there is so much judgment surrounding mental health issues. Still, anyone struggling with mental illness needs to know that it is perfectly okay not to be okay.

Therapy is not the only way to improve your mental health. In fact, the act of getting out of bed to take a walk outside can improve how a person feels both mentally and physically. Sometimes even just watching a favorite TV show can uplift a person’s outlook.

Self-Care

There are many ways to begin feeling better, but acknowledging there is something wrong and accepting that it is perfectly fine not always to feel okay.

Consciously caring for personal health does not make said person weaker or different; it makes them human. Part of ending the stigma around mental illness in BIPOC communities means collectively acknowledging that mental health has to be a priority and not a trendy hashtag.

There are a number of places willing to aid people in their fights with mental illness, but people must voluntarily reach out to begin.

Written by Reginae Echols
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

WITN: Mental Health Monday: July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

WUSA9: Organization works to remove stigma around mental health in Black, minority communities

CHCW: July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Mouli Choudari’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Leave a Reply