Photo: Getty
  /  05.06.2022

Many people potentially attest to the pandemic’s isolation and anxiety inspiring deeper introspection concerning their well-being. Greater than outside circumstances surrounding Black and POC communities’ control is the capacity of minoritized people to prioritize what is most conducive to their mental health. REVOLT is dedicated to providing resources through communal information this Mental Health Awareness Month.

In his first State of the Union, President Biden pinpointed who has been disproportionately impacted by the virus, as ethnic and racial disparities are abundant. “We have lost so much to COVID-19. Time with one another. And worst of all, so much loss of life,” he expressed. Many of his spoken troubles are all too familiar. When discussing mental health and its common detriments, an essential note is that Coronavirus claimed lives universally and across class systems. Nonetheless, the signs of the times medically are not the only factors meeting a person’s social, psychological, and emotional well-being.

It may be advantageous to identify types of mental health issues. MedlinePlus, a governmental service provided by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), cites, “Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias depression, bipolar disorder, and mood disorders…” among others. Despite images touching periods of poor mental health, it is approximated that nearly half of our nation will be diagnosed with a mental illness during their lifespan.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) recent case study confirmed that “1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.” Supporting this sentiment, and citing depression specifically, the White House’s briefing room published: “Black and Brown communities are disproportionately undertreated.” Research supports that associated stigmas can lead to discrimination. In therapy survey models, what subjects often validate as pain is contingent upon what is visible to outsiders.  

Claim: What percentage of Black people go to therapy?

Rating: Statistics tell us that roughly 25 percent of Black Americans seek mental health care, compared to 40 percent of their white counterparts, per the Harvard Medical School’s affiliate McLean’s latest essay. 

“We must understand where it comes from and why it is so ingrained in our culture … From [historical] misconceptions, we learned to ignore mental illness or call it other terms, like ‘stress’ and ‘being tired,'” said Christine M. Crawford, MD, MPH, to the hospital’s psychiatric care researchers. Additionally, the mentioned “How Can We Break Mental Health Barriers in Communities of Color?” analysis by McLean estimates that 25 percent of Black Americans seek mental health care, registering: 

“The root of mental health stigma among Black people can be traced back to slavery. At that time, it was commonly thought that [enslaved people] were not sophisticated enough to develop depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders.” Survival tactics can be passed down generationally to aid persons in getting from one point to the next. Still, these lessons teach the collective to do just that: survive. 

Habits of suppressing uncomfortable feelings can lead to poor decision-making. Figuratively speaking, a person’s resilience is ingrained by more than how many times they can push themselves past limits or take a hit. Common academic examinations authenticate that weak boundaries suggest a lack of self-respect. How you view yourself impacts your mental health immensely.

For example, Psych Central wrote, “Setting clear personal boundaries is the key to ensuring relationships are mutually respectful … Boundaries are a measure of self-esteem. They set the limits for acceptable behavior from those around you, determining whether they feel able to put you down … or take advantage of your good nature.” While this suggestion may seem simple, applying healthy boundaries can be challenging for those who believe their worth relies on how much of themselves they extend to others.

Verywell Mind printed a list of poor mental health indicators, which included but was not limited to “Trouble accepting positive feedback, fear of failure … trying to please others, [and] a poor outlook.” Further, sometimes people lack the language to address what they are experiencing. The CDC documented, “Although the terms are often used interchangeably, poor mental health and mental illness are not the same. A person can experience poor mental health and not be diagnosed with a mental illness. Likewise, a person diagnosed with a mental illness can experience [healthy solutions and forms of therapy].”

A lack of diversity among medical professionals compounds these intersecting circumstances. “Only 3 percent of the psychology workforce in the U.S. is Black, yet many people are specifically seeking a Black therapist,” broadcasted NBC News in response to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) “CWS Data Tool: Demographics of the U.S. Psychology Workforce” information. Access is a prevalent issue touching mental health resources. Psycom (a property of Remedy Health Media) verified, “Despite the Affordable Care Act, around 12 percent of [Black] Americans are uninsured … [and] even those with health insurance often don’t have mental health services covered or have expensive co-pays or deductibles.”

Black Americans and POC are systemically barred from economic equality, and women are paid substantially less than men to do the same jobs nationwide. So, people living near or below the poverty line are “… twice as likely to report serious psychological distress,” archived the “Black And African American Communities And Mental Health” account. Minoritized people need safe medical environments and tangible support to adequately address the conditions they navigate in this economy. 

In tandem, the Mental Health America (MHA) logged, “Historical dehumanization, oppression, and violence against Black [Americans] has evolved into present-day racism — structural, institutional, and individual — and cultivates a uniquely mistrustful and less affluent community experience, characterized by a myriad of disparities including inadequate access to and delivery of care in the health system.” A pending question for those affected may be, “Can resolution be achieved without addressing the reality of past happenings?” NAMI’s chronicles of socioeconomic factors index, “Despite the needs, only one in three Black adults who need mental health care receive it.” The consequences of not addressing mental health concerns can evolve into a matter of life or death in more sensitive instances for those who are marginalized. 




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