It’s not a surprise that black people have gone through a lot from slavery, Jim crow laws, gentrification, the war on drugs and many more. Even through all of the turmoil, we still learned how to adapt and survive. However, our mental health needs to be addressed because many black people are ignoring their problens. “According to a study conducted by Ward, Wiltshire, Detry, and Brown in 2013, Black/African Americans hold beliefs related to stigma, psychological openness, and help-seeking, which in turn affects their coping behaviors. Generally speaking, the participants in this study were not very open to acknowledging psychological problems, but they were somewhat open to seek mental health services.” Which raises the question, “Is it frowned upon for Black people to seek therapy?”
Dave Chapelle’s, “Trading Spouses” episode is a comedic skit featuring a black couple and a white couple that revealed shocking revelations about black mental health. After Leonard Washington and his “new wife” discuss their problems through therapy, Washington becomes increasingly defensive when then asks his “new wife” to wait in the car.” After she leaves the room, he tells the therapist, “Aite, Imma’ tell you right now, I ain’t crazy. I don’t need no psychiatrist and if you tell anybody I’ve been here, I fucking kill you!”
From this skit, it appears that black people are ashamed to seek therapy. Washington didn’t want anybody knowing he was, “crazy” but she never called him crazy, to begin with. When I was younger I sought therapy when my mother remarried again because it was devastating seeing her being cheated on. The man was like a father figure to me and at times, I blamed myself. If I didn’t seek therapy, I would have never graduated high school and just lived with guilt my entire life. I’m glad I sought therapy because I realized it wasn’t healthy bottling up my emotions like that.
Furthermore, I told my white friends that I was seeing a therapist on this issue and no one thought I was crazy. However, when I told my black friends that I sought out therapy I was labeled, “crazy”. Back then I couldn’t understand why but now I do. Many black people do not want to admit that they have any personal problems because just like the Dave Chapelle’s Trading Spouses episode, the message was clear after that therapy session, “THERAPY IS FOR WHITE PEOPLE!”
If more black people came to terms with their anger issues we wouldn’t have black people fighting each other and causing chaos. Today, our people are not violent because of the white man, slavery, or anything else. It’s because they’re angry with themselves. Whether it’s an unstable household, abuse, or lack of love this is why therapists and consultants are here to help people, not hurt them. As soon as we as black people understand this then we can start the healing process.
Lastly, if you are a black woman or man address your problems or you will not come up with solutions. Adults take responsibility, kids remain irresponsible. There are many intelligent black people in the world that are slowly becoming victims to their own mental health when it’s not necessary. You can seek help because help is universal. If you have a problem you must be an adult and try to solve it.
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