Photo: Pat OrtizWhen it comes to black women and mental health, acknowledgment is key. However, given the severe history of our race and gender in the United States, conquering the stigmas can become burdensome at best. One thing is for certain: Black women are sublime creatures of God. We are fully capable of doing it all at no less than 100 percent. That said, even the superhero must count on their sidekick for support.
Statistics shouldn’t lie, although they tend to have a crafty way of masking the entire truth.
Long after the days of slavery, the black American narrative continues to lack accurate representation, from textbooks to mass media. Reality TV producers thrive on exploiting black women and our ‘drama’ for the sake of entertainment. As a result, we choose to follow suit and turn a blind eye to our issues, too. Rather than acknowledging and addressing them, we live Hollywood’s portrayals—only to be led down a shameful path of self-inflicted psychological wounds that are taught never need healing. A health care system designed to discourage certain marginalized groups from seeking the care they deserve certainly poses a roadblock. However, there are other ways of finding support and encouragement in our own needs.
We can change the narrative.
Today is a better day than ever to start an open conversation about mental health and self-care. Social media is a powerful tool for sharing. With it, we can tell our true, unique perspectives as a community and as individuals. Considering socio-economic issues, constant oppression and injustice, a number of psychosocial factors make us far more susceptible to mental suffering and we must remain aware and informed.
Let us be empowered by our conditional traumas, not discouraged. Remember how necessary it is to routinely check in with your own mind and acknowledge what feels right and what doesn’t. You are allowed to be afraid and uncomfortable while doing so, but you don't have to live in those feelings forever. Just like everyone else, you deserve to be freed of your mental suffering.
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