Featured Issues Mental Health

Mental Health Problems in the Black Community

By: Randa Shami

As black women we face a double whammy in society. We are trying to find our identities in world where being black is seen as ‘other’ as well as battling patriarchy. Sometimes we find it hard to admit when we’re struggling and end up suffering in silence. This silence is sometimes powered by the fear that there is no support, whether this support comes from family, friends, communities or professions.

Among black families and communities there is a lack of acknowledgment that mental health problems are real. ‘We do not have time to be depressed.’ ‘Depression is a white man’s illness.’ ‘Have you prayed?’ We have all heard our parents or other members of our family say something along these lines in relation to mental health. However, despite this, mental health problems have time for us!

In my own experience I have found that the support, understanding, or at least the willingness to try and understand the battle one faces everyday with mental health problems is a key feature in the journey to recovery. The lack of support or understanding could hinder one’s recovery and will only strengthen the barrier we have put up for ourselves as a community.

Countless times I have heard people recall stories of a member of their church who had symptoms which mirrored depression or anxiety and were not told to seek the help of a psychologist or even listened to. They were however, shunned by the church and told to pray. Yes, religion can bring hope, inner peace and strength, but we wouldn’t tell a cancer patient not to seek a doctor and only pray. Thus, why are we telling those suffering from mental health problems that their illness is not of the same caliber?

As a woman bought up in an African family I was never taught about mental health nor was the topic ever discussed among my family. Despite this I went on to complete a degree in Psychology and began to present the subject to my family and friends (from similar backgrounds). In doing so I discovered there was a gap in our understanding of mental well-being. There was a stigma that covered the topic and sometimes even a disinterest in recognizing the importance of one’s mental health.

Furthermore, I realized that members of my family had or were currently tackling depression and/or anxiety. Despite the power that this topic seemed to have over us, we never came together as a family to break down the walls of silence surrounding mental well-being. In fact conversions were held in secret and without intention we were feeding the beast of ignorance. We were also putting a greater strain on those who did have depression and/or anxiety and those who were trying to support them. We were enabling the stigma surrounding mental health among black families.

I believe to conquer the stigma we must first openly acknowledge that mental well-being is real and a problem that needs to be tackled. This can simply be done by educating ourselves, our parents and children about the different types of mental health problems and by opening the door for conversation on the subject to be had. Moreover, it is important that we listen to those who are battling with mental health issues.

For this motion to occur it is essential that black women and men who have or are facing this fight step out of the shadows and tell their story. This can be done by simply talking to your families, friends or church groups about the issue. I found that these conversations which can lead to acknowledgement and understanding are the most difficult part. This is because you must try to understand and/or explain something which is in itself unexplainable. Nevertheless, silence only gives power to the illness and the stigma and  also makes support stagnant.

I have also found that family members who act as the anchor to those who are struggling with mental well-being also need support. Even as someone who has studied Psychology, Ive found that  you can never be prepared for the feeling that overwhelms you when you have to watch a loved one battle a mental health problem.

I realized that I too was suffering in silence. I was happy to carry the cross by myself instead of embracing our culture which highlights the importance of community.

I learned that the support network itself must be strong otherwise no one can recover, it is important that family members support each other. To achieve this we must first break the stigma and acknowledge mental well-being as a real issue. Both journeys (the one battling mental health and their support network) are valid and both sides of the story need to be told.

Write For Us

Leave a Reply

30 Comments on "Mental Health Problems in the Black Community"

Leave a Comment

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
7 months 3 days ago

Thanks for sharing. I have already gone through your song & definitely I have listened it. It’s really awesome. I just loved it.As a woman bought up in an African family I was never taught about mental health nor was the topic ever discussed among my family. Despite this I went on to complete a degree in Psychology and began to present the subject to my family and friends (from similar backgrounds). In doing so I discovered there was a gap in our understanding of mental well-being. There was a stigma that covered the topic and sometimes even a disinterest… Read more »

2 months 2 days ago

cheap louis vuitton sale

thanks, and keep up the great work

2 months 16 hours ago

uk patagonia jackets

Distinguished web blog, Eminent comments that I can tackle. I am transferring forward and might apply to my present job as a cat sitter, which is very rewarding, however I must further grow expand. Regards

1 month 30 days ago

cheap patagonia

What has eighteen legs and fetches a ball? The Philadelphia Beagles!

1 month 29 days ago

barbour on sale

excellent info keep up your good work thankx

1 month 28 days ago

north face store victor ny

Im curious if you ever have problems with what people post? Recently it seems to have become an epidemic, recently though it has turned around. What are your thoughts?

1 month 27 days ago

merrell for sale

The strongest secret to boosting gross revenue is email marketing. The key is being repetitive, consistent, fast, and personalized. Email advertising campaigns can double your web sales. Through follow-up marketing and pr you are able to faucet into yo…

1 month 25 days ago

mont blanc on sale

How-do-you-do, i study your blog often and i own an analogous one and i used to be just wondering if you get much of spam comments? If thus how do you stop it, any plugin or anything youll be able to advise? I get thus often lately its driving me mad s…

1 month 23 days ago

cheap coach outlet online

Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I will certainly return.

1 month 12 days ago

coach outlet

Usefull points written on your blog, most I agree with. Recall viewing a similar blog which I will look to post. I will bookmark ofcourse I look forward your next thought provoking blog post

1 month 11 days ago

moncler jacket womens sale

hey all, I used to be simply checkin’ out this blog and I actually admire the premise of the article, and have nothing to do, so if anyone want to to have an engrossing convo about it, please contact me on AIM, my name is heather smith

1 month 10 days ago

cheap true religion jeans

Please tell me that youre going to keep this up! Its so good and so important. I cant wait to read additional from you. I just really feel like you know so substantially and know how to make people listen to what you have to say. This blog is just as w…

1 month 8 days ago

factory mk outlet

Hi, Are you looking for any guest writers currently because I might be willing to provide you with high quality articles written specfically for your website.

1 month 6 days ago

hunter boots sale

Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog so i came to return the favour.I am trying to find things to improve my website!Is it ok if i use some of the things i saw here?!

1 month 5 days ago

cheap belstaff

I like the helpful info you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. Im quite certain I’ll learn a lot of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

28 days 17 hours ago

belstaff trialmaster sale

Quite a few of the points associated with this write-up happen to be good nonetheless had me personally wanting to know, did they really indicate that? One thing I have to mention is certainly your publishing abilities are very good and I would be comi…

26 days 21 hours ago

jimmy choo store online

you are actually a just right webmaster. The web site loading speed is amazing. It sort of feels that youre doing any unique trick. Moreover, The contents are masterpiece. you have performed a wonderful job on this matter!

24 days 19 hours ago

louis vuitton online shop

bielke verros meira belladonna thammas caliman landgard Eleonore electricity

23 days 4 hours ago

Balmain on sale

Grande borne! Agradecimentos para tomar o momento de escrever algo que é realmente leitura do valor. Demasiado frequentemente eu encontro a informação inútil e não a algo que é realmente relevante. Agradecimentos para seu trabalho duro.

21 days 10 hours ago

sergios online

When I click your RSS feed it looks like a whole lot of weird text, is the issue on my side?

19 days 17 hours ago

cheap Mountain Hardwear

susi harford dudon rickets ninetieth fuga bomb troglodyte americ

17 days 23 hours ago

ugg store outlet

Hello!I am following your blog for some days now. I have to say that it is very easy to check out . It is added in my favourite list and i will try to track it recurrently. Thanks for the nice posts . On top of that, i actually like your web template a…

16 days 5 hours ago

moschino online

Excellent information here. This interesting post made me smile. Maybe if you throw in a couple of pics it will make the whole thing more interesting.

14 days 11 hours ago

ugg boots where to buy

Hey, very nice blog! Beautiful and Amazing. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds also

12 days 20 hours ago

Cheapest Louis Vuitton

Thank you for the smart critique. Me & my neighbour were preparing to do some research about that. We got a superior book on that matter from our local library and most books where not as influensive as your details. Im quite glad to see these data…

8 days 13 hours ago

Victoria’s Secret on sale

Thank you for sharing with us, I believe this website truly stands out : D. I found this similiar one here


belstaff leather jacket sale

Resources such as the 1 you mentioned right here will be incredibly useful to myself! Ill publish a hyperlink to this web page on my particular blog. I am certain my site visitors will discover that fairly useful.


polo ralph lauren factory store

Damn, awesome site. I in fact discovered this on aol, and im delighted I did. I will without a doubt be coming back here more often. wish i could add to the posts here as well as deliver a bit more to the table, however am just reading and absorbing ju…

3 days 5 hours ago

buy fitflop

It is a fantastic post; it had been exceptionally informative. I appearance forward in examining significantly more of ones function. Also, I produced confident to bookmark your internet site so I can come back later


cole haan oxfords womens sale

Howdy, i learn your weblog often and i personal an identical one and i used to be just wondering in case you get loads of spam comments? If so how do you forestall it, any plugin or anything you possibly can advise? I get a lot lately its driving me ma…