Mental health

14 June 2017

Black women and Mental Health

To begin, I would like to remind all the black women out there that you are strong resilient Queens, but above anything else you are human and mental health illnesses do no discriminate. Once a mental health illness enters you, if you try to ignore it, it will strip you of that bedazzled crown perfectly balanced on your head.

Black women are no strangers to depressive and/or anxiety disorders. In the UK African-Caribbean women are more likely to be diagnosed with severe illnesses such as schizophrenia, compared to other ethnic groups, but have lower rates of common mental health disorders. According to the mental health bulletin, have shown that 5,000 per 100,000 Black British people accessed mental health services in 2015, 12.7% of those in contact with mental health services spent a night in hospital that year which is double the percentage of the white population. Some believe the reason black women's statistics are so high.

Kirsty Latoya Peters  Instagram @kizart 
Culturally, there tends to be a shame/stigma surrounding mental health issues in black communities.  In an American study,185 African-American women ages between 25-85 years of age were interviewed and results showed that the majority believed mental health issues are caused by family related stress as well as, social stress due to racism. Prayer was found to be the preferred method of coping, with the percentage of black american women using mental health services being low. Stigma being the main reason why medical health was not sort after, which I presume is also the same reason for the low rate of black British women who access mental health services. As a result they are more likely to enter the mental health services through the courts and police rather than primary care. 

Psychologists have suggested that black women both in the UK and USA tend to feel more pressure to overcome stigmas associated with being a black woman, therefore, change themselves so they don't appear angry or intimidating and to ensure others around them are comfortable. This constant role playing  and diminishing oneself, is what psychologists believe to have affected the psyche, leading to much higher statistics.
Kirsty Latoya Peters  Instagram @kizart 
In terms of treatment, black women in the UK are more likely to receive medication rather than be offered psycho-therapy. Research suggests that western approaches to mental health treatment are often unsuitable and culturally inappropriate to meet the needs of the black community.

It is critical that we start a conversation about mental health in the black community and not just its affect on black women. The stigma must be removed and the shame element of seeking help should be eliminated. Its extremely important that as humans we look after our minds body and soul. Just as we would go to the doctor if we had a problem with a physical part of our body, we should to the same for our minds. There is no shame in taking care of any part of yourself.

Again I say to you beautiful black woman: you are a strong resilient Queen, but please don't let a mental health illness knock that crown off your head.

Until next time,

Chengetai Victoria

Post a Comment

Latest Instagrams

© Curls Aunaturel. Design by Fearne.