Dádìsì Speaks

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month: Wake Up Call For The Diaspora

In Black and Brown News on 09/05/2012 at 16:53

Since 1949 May has been dubbed Mental Health Month in America.  Its sole purpose is to raise awareness of mental health conditions and illnesses for all Americans.  However, I am dedicating the following to address Mental Health in Black and Brown American communities.

Certainly this is not a topic most are comfortable discussing.  And I would dare say Mental Health throughout the African Diaspora is a taboo topic.  In my humble view, we are simply too afraid to broach the topic because it carries so many stigmas with it.  Especially if you are the person suffering from an identifiable mental illness.  In many cases, however, there is a family member, friend, co-worker or acquaintance known to have such problems.  But still we will not talk about it in the open.

Consider the following from the Black Mental Health Alliance:

  • Nearly one in five Americans suffer from some kind of mental disorder, which can be successfully treated.
  • Less than half of African American adults with mental illness seek treatment for mental health problems, and less than one third of their children receive treatment.
  • Black Americans make up about forty percent of the homeless population, the majority suffering from mental illness are self medicating to treat mental illness.
  • Seven percent of Black American men will develop Depression during their lifetime. This is likely to be an underestimate due to lack of screening and treatment services.
  • Stigma and difficulty paying for care keeps millions of Americans from treatments that have proven successful. (cont…Black and Brown News)

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