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Black Mental Health Matters

So what's going on?

Mental health is defined as a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.

It's no question that the amount of mental health issues are rising in today's world.

Political crises are rising, there's a huge economical imbalance and our environment is suffering.

These are just some of factors that contribute to why anyone would develop poor mental health.

This is especially true for African Americans, because we also deal with racism and have more difficulties getting access to mental health treatment.

Minority Mental Health Awareness Month started in 2008 and is celebrated every year in July, with a goal to spread the awareness on a national scale.

On July 17th, the Africa Love Store invited me to speak as a panelist at a forum discussion called "Healthy from the Inside, in light of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

I was joined by a few other African American mental health professionals and advocates in Las Vegas, one being the owner of this site, Alisa Howard.

Each one us discussed our first-hand experience with mental health in the black community, whether it was in practice or personal.

Of course, the audience members, who were primarily Black and African, came with their own insights and experiences.

I remember therapy being seen as something "crazy" people did to Black people.

With everything we face being Black in America, I think it's time to admit that it's okay if we are a little on edge or under the weather.

There's so much power in being vulnerable about your struggles.

Let's talk about it.

I recently read about Taraji P. Henson speaking on the mental health crisis affecting African American youth in front of a congressional hearing earlier this summer.

She said, “I am here using my celebrity, using my voice, to put a face to this, because I also suffer from depression and anxiety.:

Let me tell you, I was so moved that she chose to use her platform to bring awareness to the current crisis we are facing in our communities.

Not only has Taraji spoken out, but many other Black celebrities have as well.

Charlamagne Tha God from Power 105's Breakfast Club has written a book about his struggle with anxiety.

Black-ish actress Jenifer Lewis wrote a memoir that discusses her life with bipolar disorder.

And I know we all know caught a few episodes of Iyanla Fix My Life, too. The fact that I can list a few public examples shows me how far we've come.

Think about it, conversations on mental health issues in the black community are just recently becoming a "thing" in mainstream media.

Yes, not all trends are good, but vulnerability trending in the black community is a huge step in the right direction.

I personally believe that it is so important that we continue to open up to one another and seek professional help so we can continue to heal.

What do we do?

  • Start to recognize when your mental health condition is not doing so well. Be real with people when you feel this way.

  • Don't shy away from the conversation, but be a part of it. Maybe even start the conversation.

  • Continue to seek safe places for you and your loved ones to get the help they truly need.

  • Most importantly, let's continue to normalize our emotional and psychological struggles. The more we open up about our struggles, the more we will heal.

Written By: Alexia Brown

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