Black Mental Health Matters

Mental Illness

Note: May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

I plan to discuss mental health more next May. I will go a bit more in-depth on some issues.


Blacks have always looked down on mental illness.  It was a topic hushed away.  White people went to “shrinks” and black people went to church.  Prayer and church attendance were supposed to push out any crazy thoughts or behavior.  Christian faith is what helped many slaves mentally endure another day.  Blacks have been tied to their faith for generations.


Well, I don’t believe it is wrong to say prayer is not enough to alleviate the issues within some people.  Many blacks lived in denial for years instead of getting help for loved ones.  Some people need counselors, therapy, and medication.

I really feel for black men.  They are expected to be intimidating and aggressive.  This behavior is supposed to prove your manhood. The issue is that everyone does not fit that description and there is nothing wrong with it. There is nothing wrong with being more sensitive.

It is unfortunate that narcissistic behavior in men is not seen as a problem.  It is a problem – it is a personality disorder.  It is under the same umbrella as a mental disorder.  Yet, in the black community the more intimidating and aggressive you appear proves your manhood.  Therefore, some black men do not get reprimanded in their youth for their critical nature toward others or their lack of empathy. The idea of empathy isn’t even in their vocabulary. Black women suffer from mental illness as well.  Women weren’t supposed to talk about their problems either.  Some were locked away until they could “get it together”.  If a woman suffered sexual abuse they were supposed to pretend it never happened and just move on.  That is what many were taught :  pray and then move on.  Unfortunately, few women were encouraged to get help.  Plus, I know therapy can be costly.

We need more people speaking out about mental illness in the black community.   If a person is consistent with disturbing behavior that is the biggest red flag they can wave. It starts with the parents.

Please give your children boundaries.  They must be taught coping and interpersonal skills.  The most important lesson to teach your children is that they are not the center of the universe. All children need to be taught how to interact with others, be accountable for their actions, and empathy.

I’m a Christian but I still believe in therapy.  Some people need more assistance than others to make it through the day.  I talk to my friends when I see are struggling. We ALL have our struggles. I don’t assume it’s “no big deal” and just pray it away.  More people need to step in when they see friends and family act out of character.  It is your issue!  I don’t know why people today want to just back away from everything like they don’t see anything.  Everyone thinks it’s not their issue to deal with – yes it is – it is a loved one so you should make it your issue to get them help.

Peace and Blessings!

3 Replies to “Black Mental Health Matters”

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