Why Black People Need Therapy

I’m going to try to make this make sense to you. Severely mentally ill people go to therapy but not all people who go to therapy are severely mentally ill. Now, mental illness is very well existent within our society; but the media portrayal of mental illness has probably played a significant role in why people who may otherwise need it, shun therapy.

We often carry the unfortunate events of our lives with us and they affect us in a variety of ways that we don’t always realize. Some of us have many failed relationships and friendships, some of us hold so much bitterness toward the opposite sex that healthy relationships seem impossible. Most of these issues usually stem from our parents and/or someone or something that has hurt us very much. The occurrence of deep rooted issues like this may cause depression and very severe events can result in post-traumatic stress disorder. Consistent everyday problems with work, negative relationships or financial crises take a toll on us. What do we do when there’s no one to talk to or the people we do talk to have heard it all?

Do you regularly cry at night? Heartbroken? Are you constantly irritated and angry or overwhelmed? Do you feel tense, anxious or nervous in public settings? Are you often feeling sick and for no explicable reason? Unhealthy relationship with food? Suicidal thoughts? Yes?

Then, honey, you could probably use some therapy.

The Black community allows itself to be victim to a myriad of illnesses just because of our ignorance to available treatment options and preventative care. Some of this ignorance is innocent but I’m sure most of it is not. People don’t want to be associated with seeing a mental health care specialist because they don’t want to be assumed crazy. But what’s more sane than to be proactive about mental health? What’s sad is, I really wanted to add a bit about how we care so much about our physical health, but unfortunately, I have serious doubts about that. What I don’t have a doubt about is that the state of our mental health dictates what we allow to happen to our bodies and the risks we take. If this isn’t enough to cause us to at least consider getting information about speaking to a therapist I don’t know what is.

Those who have family members who have had a history of mental illness are at an increased risk of also developing some type of mental illness. If you know for sure that a family member suffers from some type of disorder, pay extra attention to the state of your mental well-being. It may be difficult to trace because a lot of people don’t even recognize any signs or symptoms for various conditions. Many of our family members may have actually suffered from something but never had it diagnosed.

When someone we know explains that they’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression for example, we tell them to get over it. Many of us don’t embrace people who come forward about the state of their mental health. A lot of our family and friends mean well because they want to encourage us to snap out of it and be strong but something like depression isn’t about weakness. It’s about chemicals, it’s about genetics, it’s about feelings and life events. When our friends and family just don’t understand or simply cannot relate, having a weekly sit-down with an objective stranger who doesn’t know every intimate detail of your life, can enrich your future. Or, at the base level, almost ensure you one.

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