Speaking Mental Health
Forward Times Mental Health Advisors
Let’s face it. There is a huge stigma regarding Black people and mental illness. There is an established belief in the Black community that mental illness is taboo and something we ignore and never talk about. Many times, we accept the consequences and pass it off as that person or family member “just being themselves”. The impact of ignoring these issues is great in our community and many suffer silently. Due to socioeconomic challenges, some may be at an even higher risk for mental illness because of the lack of resources and not being able to pay for the help they need.
For Black men, the impact is higher and the stigma induces them to ignore the need for professional help. While it is understood that it is nearly impossible to enjoy overall good health without good mental well-being, there are many reasons why Black men steer away from professional treatment. It may be viewed as a weakness or a loss of control. It could also stem from being raised in a family environment and culture where young boys are told to be tough and boys don’t cry. These pressures among Black men increase the stress and anxiety of living with mental illness. With the increasing number of individuals facing anxiety, depression, anger and aggression symptoms, Black men continue to live without getting the required help. As a result, we continue to see our community of Black males growing and developing with these same mindsets, thus continuing the cycle.
It is important to know that mental health should be nourished and it is okay to seek help. Men are 2-3 times more likely to misuse substances than women, especially during times of crisis. This is often related to a family history of addiction or childhood trauma. These issues may be treated successfully and lead to a more productive quality of life. There are many mental health professionals available to suit the needs of Black men who are in need of mental support. Find a licensed professional and begin the journey to a better life. It is time to pull back the shades on mental health and eliminate the stigma surrounding Black men and their mental well-being. Your strength, determination, and commitment is required to gain control of your life. Do not allow anger, aggression, anxiety, and/or depression to steal your joy.
Angela M. Powell, Ph.D., LPC-S, CSC
Dr. Angela M. Powell is a Licensed Professional Counselor and owner of Progressive Counseling & Consulting, LLC., specializing in youth trauma, anxiety, and depression.