Taboo: Mental Health amongst the African American Community

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Why is it forbidden to speak of mental health within the African American community? As an individual who has a career in social services, I am able to interact with beautiful people every day from every walk of life. What I have observed while in my career is the level of sensitivity that those in the African American community have toward issues revolving around mental health illness.

Caucasians are more likely to seek assistance or have a conversation about the changes in their behavioral pattern such as how they think, act, feel, handle stress, relating to other and making choices. Many have consulted their doctor which results in medication to be subscribed to treat their mental illness or spoken with a therapist. Within the African American community, a majority, have chosen to suffer in silence due to media portraying mental health illness as some sort of demon that could be prayed off; or even, shrug off for that individual is having a bad day and giving the individual time to be left alone. Mental health is a serious concern within our community and it needs to be addressed!

Please note that there are various factors that contribute to mental health issues such as biological factors and life experiences. Unclear whether you or someone you know have mental health issues that need to be addressed? Experiencing one or more feelings/behaviors may indicate early warning signs:

*suicidal thoughts SUICIDE HOTLINE NUMBER 1-800-273-8255

*inability to perform daily tasks

*hearing voices

*disengaging in activities with others

*continuous thoughts of a traumatic life experience

*having little or no energy

*feeling inadequate or unimportant

*eating or sleeping too much or too little

The fact of the matter is, there are various signs or symptoms that lead to mental health issues that should not be ignored, children battle mental health issues as well that then follow them into adulthood. We need to inform our people that conversations involving taboo topics such as mental health need to be conducted for the prosperity of our culture. Let’s educate each other!

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