Black mental illness is a form of depression commonly experienced in the black community. It affects an estimated 1 out of 4 black Americans, but there’s not enough research to know exactly how many people are affected or what causes it. A few factors have been identified as leading contributors to this mental illness, including racial discrimination and poverty, which heighten the likelihood of developing symptoms.
This blog post provides tips on how you can help those who are struggling with black mental illness by raising awareness and resources for those who need them. It is important to note that the symptoms of black mental illness are the same as other mental illnesses and can be mistaken for other conditions. If you or someone you know thinks they may have a black mental illness, get help from a professional counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
1] Seek Mental Health Treatment
Most people with the above condition will eventually develop another type of depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorder, so seek help if you think you are suffering from it.
A black American with untreated depression has a 40% chance of developing the illness in his lifetime. At the same time, the same risk applies to an untreated African American with a substance use disorder.
2] Let People Know They Are Not Alone
It’s easy to feel like you are the only one dealing with this kind of struggle and that nobody understands or cares about what you’re going through. But you are not alone. You can feel better by reaching out for support from friends, family members, and loved ones. If you feel like the people in your circle don’t understand or aren’t supportive, it’s good to find a support group. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is an organization that works to eliminate the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness. You can also find support through social media networks like Facebook and Tumblr.
3] Be Encouraging & Kind
Don’t judge or be mean to someone who has a mental illness. Throwing negative comments their way will only make them feel worse. Instead, be encouraging and kind to them. That might seem impossible, but it’s essential to maintain a positive outlook for someone struggling with depression.
4] Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
If you’re afraid that asking for help could hurt your relationship or have social repercussions, don’t worry! There’s nothing wrong with reaching out for help if you think you need it. If you’re not okay with certain people calling you for help after you tell them you are struggling with black mental illness, make sure that they completely understand that it is still okay to ask for support from them.
5] Be a Resource
If someone knows others suffering from black mental illness, why not be a resource? Connecting those who may need a little help and awareness can give them hope and show others that there is no shame in seeking help.
6] Support the Community
If you live in an urban or rural area, ask around for people who have a black mental illness. Some groups do this in the U.S., and it can be a great way to help those suffering. You can also hold community talks at festivals and events focused on mental health awareness or publish resources online such as blogs, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds.
The good news is that you can always seek help if you think you need it. You don’t have to suffer in silence. But try to keep these tips in mind, and remember that even if these are things that were once taboo in the black community, now they are not.