It’s no secret that the stigmas about mental health in the black community prevent us from taking care of ourselves. A majority of us believe that depression is a personal weakness rather than a health problem, and even if we are aware, we don’t seek care.

A few weeks ago, an episode of The Carmichael Show dealt with this issue. Cynthia (Loretta Devine) had a case of “the blues” that lasted for months. When her son’s girlfriend found her crying in the kitchen, she brushed it off as if it was nothing then proceeded to argue with her about seeking help. When they finally made it to the therapist’s office she still had a disposition against therapy.

Photo: NBC via Hulu
Photo: NBC via Hulu

Cynthia is us. We’ve conditioned ourselves to fight through our issues, in hopes that things will somehow get better on their own. What happens when they don’t get better? What happens when we allow denial, embarrassment and fear to take control of our lives?

Similar to going to the gym, one of the hardest parts about seeking mental health care is making it to the therapist’s office. The prominence of virtual therapy has made it easier for everyone to access mental health care. Licensed psychotherapists are now literally at your fingertips, especially if you choose to use texting therapy.

This is how virtual therapy will benefit our community:

The price-point is lower

Although insurance isn’t accepted for virtual therapy as of yet, if you don’t have insurance the cost will be significantly lower than going to a therapist in person.

It’s more discreet

You can get the help you need by texting or Skyping with your therapist.

You won’t have to answer to anybody about what you’re doing/where you’re going

One of the reasons why people in our community don’t seek mental health care is because they are embarrassed. Not having to make up excuses about your plans will ease anxiety about seeking care.

It’s easier to talk to your therapist when you’re not in front of them

Similar to having hard conversations via text (because you can’t see the person), this experience feels less personal and has been proven to encourage patients to reveal more. In fact, because of this, virtual therapy might just make more of a difference than actual in-person therapy.

There’s more accessible support for those in abusive relationships

This is key. Being able to seek help without having to worry about angering your physically or emotionally abusive partner will make a difference for those who are victims of domestic violence.

More access means more care which means less of a stigma

The more we help ourselves, the more we will be able to help others. Can virtual therapy make this big of a difference in the black community? Perhaps, but it all starts with giving it a try.

How do you think that virtual therapy will help our community?

Photo: NBC via Hulu
Photo: NBC via Hulu

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