Black History Month and Mental Wellness

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According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are at significantly increased risk to experience serious mental health problems than the general population. As Black History Month wraps up, we’d like to share a couple of resources and articles we’ve seen this last month specifically focused on mental wellness in the African American community.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) indicates that while “anyone can develop a mental health problem, African Americans sometimes experience more severe forms of mental health conditions due to unmet needs and other barriers.”

A few of the more common mental health conditions experienced by the African American community include:

  • Major depression
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Suicide, particularly among young African American men
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), because African Americans are, unfortunately, at increased risk to be victims of violent crime

NAMI devotes this page to how mental health affects the African American community and resources for support. 

Each Mind Matters, California’s Mental Health Movement, writes that “historically, enslavement, lack of economic opportunity, oppression and cultural bias have led to high poverty in the African American community. These factors can lead to homelessness, incarceration, and substance use problems, which increase the chances of poor mental health.” Each Mind Matters provides a comprehensive resource page and list of tools to help individuals reach out for support when needed.  

The Alameda County Everyone Counts Campaign highlights how superstar rapper Jay-Z has emerged as a hero to African-American communities as he has spoken out about mental health stigma removing barriers to seeking help for mental health in the African-American community. Read the recap, with links to related articles, here

While this is just a short list of many resources and articles, we hope this discussion of mental health in the African American community, and across all communities, continues. Together, we can increase awareness of mental health issues and mental wellness, and support those who need help.