MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS
** THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY DEMUR.CO IN THE GAB'S AFRO MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK ON THE 14TH OCTOBER 2019
Here we are again, talking issues that should be voiced more often in everyday life, even when they sound uncomfortable.
Today we’re talking Mental Health the big unspoken elephant in the room within the Black community. Within our black families we grow up being told our anxiety is not real, that our depression is all in our heads and that faith and resilience are the only help we can find, but truth be told;
In general, people from black and minority ethnic groups living in the UK are:
more likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems
more likely to be diagnosed and admitted to hospital
more likely to experience a poor outcome from treatment
more likely to disengage from mainstream mental health services, leading to social exclusion and a deterioration in their mental health.
This information becomes ever so tragic when we are told that “This may be because they are reluctant to engage with services, and so are much more ill when they do. It may also be that services use more coercive approaches to treatment.” ( Source: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/b/black-asian-and-minority-ethnic-bame-communities)
Now mental health is a real illness and it doesn’t matter how much we tell ourselves that we are doing great even when we are not, illnesses do not go away if not treated. Though within the BAME community, we have had to deal with being abused and mistreated for a long time, ignoring such issues can bring about negative outcomes.
Now as a black woman I have dealt with issues regarding my mental health. Sometimes medicines help me with a temporary fix to the issues, sometimes I have CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to understand why some settings trigger my anxiety and though it is an everlasting journey it is good to understand how certain situations affect you and how you react accordingly.
Sometimes we may be shy when it comes to discussing these issues, but a great way to start is through some online sources such as Headspace, which is a meditation tool I think everyone should have on their smartphones. Moreover, Instagram is a great search engine and some black therapists are working towards creating therapy specifically aimed at black people such as @theraphyforblackgirls, @blackfemaletherapists.
In conclusion, my words to you are IF YOU NEED HELP SEEK FOR IT, we live in a country where healthcare is free and therefore we should take advantage of this amazing opportunity and make sure we are not only physically healthy but most importantly mentally healthy as well.
Take care of you babe.