Taking Care of Black People's Mental Health

In the United States, around 37 million people identify as Black or African American. The Black community has made great contributions to the ongoing fight for social, racial, and economic justice, from trailblazing pioneers like George Washington Carver and Dorothy Height to modern-day heroines like Anita Hill and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Furthermore, because the Black community is situated at the crossroads of racism, classism, and health injustice, their mental health needs are frequently aggravated and largely unmet. Economic insecurity, as well as the experiences that come with it, such as violence and criminal injustice, serve to exacerbate mental health disparities in the Black community.

Research Surrounding the Black Community and Mental Health

According to research, adults in the Black community are 20% more likely to suffer from major mental health issues such Major Depressive Disorder or Generalized Anxiety Disorder. In addition, when compared to White emerging adults and older Black individuals, Black emerging adults (ages 18-25) have higher rates of mental health problems and lower rates of mental health care utilization. Despite efforts to eliminate inequities in race and class in the United States, these depressing figures reveal that inequalities are widening. However, more study is needed to explain these findings and to better understand the variables linked to reduced mental health care consumption in the Black population. Due to historical abuses of Black people in the name of health care, a lack of trust in the medical system, a lack of adequate insurance, culturally responsive mental health providers, financial burden, and a history of discrimination in the mental health system, there is a lack of trust in the medical system. Furthermore, research suggests that dread of repeating similar events is one of the variables that contributes to poor self-esteem.