Wellness Wednesday: Why Don't Blacks Seek Mental Health Counseling?

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Why is this a perfect time to talk to someone?

Lets face it, this is a very stressful time we’re living in. There is an orange mental patient in our White House, taxes may be rising, and you just may have spent all of your money on presents, and getting your hair/nails done.  I can’t watch ‘Black Mirror’ or ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ without feeling like I need to prepare for the apocalypse. That right there is called Anxiety…And Stress…With a splish-splash of Depression.  So what do we do? If your mental health is one of your goals this year, why not seek a Therapist? Ok, before you click past this post, hear me out. Historically, we as a people do not seek therapy. Many Blacks simply don’t ‘trust this process.’ The majority of therapists, like doctors, are typically Caucasians. It’s rare to see someone in the therapy field with our skin color. Also, it is fact; studies that were done to understand people, society, and mental components did not use Blacks in their samples. Considering our cultural differences,  the techniques that resulted from the research  seemed to help the majority, but rarely fit with the minority. Instead, we tend to seek advice from our friends, our parents, or spiritual leaders.  At the same time, that friend may not give the best advice. Our spiritual leader, pastor, or parents may tell us to go pray. Men especially are taught to keep emotions closeted  in shame because showing their feelings means that they’re ‘acting like a B*#%&.’ But this does nothing to help us. Our anxiety continues to increase and stress levels continue to rise. We are told to let it go, and if you can’t, your behavior towards others is then affected. You are now the angry one. So how do you find a therapist that fits with you? Your search can be really simple. There are more Black Therapists, Social Workers, Life Coaches out here than ever before. Black Americans are participating in more studies that are actually for us which leads to a better understanding of treating our issues when working with us. Also, more White Therapists are taking aim at being more culturally conscious. Finding someone that has had experience working with your culture, or with your particular problem is key. Feel free to ask therapists and counselors what makes them the right therapist for you. When we have to explain the Black American struggle to someone who doesn’t understand it, it can make beginning therapy extremely difficult and uncomfortable. Tele-mental health is also a rapidly growing treatment option or if you’re a student, you can try the counseling department at your university.  Seek out Black Therapists on Facebook, Thumbtack,  or via national association websites such as The American Counseling Association, and The Association of Black Psychologists. There are also some websites that have consolidated listings across America (such as www.therapyforblackgirls.com which is a growing database of Black therapists in each state).  With a  membership, you can speak to someone daily, and even video chat. Leave a comment if you have seen a counselor, therapist, or life coach and did you like it. Also, if you know of an amazing therapist, counselor or life coach who is a POC, please leave their information here.]]>

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