How I’m Helping My Black Children Understand Mental Health Issues
There was no discussion of mental health in my home as a child. It wasn’t a conversation that was fostered in the Black community, which is common. I used to do things a certain way with my kids, but things have changed.
Despite the evident need, I was unaware of any members of my family who had sought mental health treatment. My family and I relied greatly on faith and our local church to talk about the impact of daily life on our lives. This is something that many Black families do as a result of the social injustices that have forced us to forge our own networks of support.
Efforts to Improve Mental Health Care
These conditions are rampantly related to the Black American experience, which is more commonly marked by trauma and violence, which, according to Mental Health America, affects the Black population in the United States “at about the same or less frequency” than the white community. One in three Black folks, on the other hand, are receiving the mental health treatment they require.
As for those who don’t, they have a hard time opening up. Sharing information with Black clients is more difficult. Having already experienced some form of intervention, the majority of her non-Black clients feel more at ease talking about their problems during counseling.
Because of how society has previously judged and perceived black people, they may not bring that same level of openness to the table. As a defense mechanism, the “what happens in this house stays in this house” slogan was adopted. Many of the young people Beckles sees are over the age of 12, and many of them reveal that their parents have instructed them not to divulge all of their personal information to her.
Despite the evident need, I was unaware of any members of my family who had sought mental health treatment. My family and I relied greatly on faith and our local church to talk about the impact of daily life on our lives.
In the Black community, the stigma associated with getting mental health care is a major obstacle. According to a study, many people are hesitant to acknowledge their psychological requirements. Because of the discrepancies in access to care, there is a wider disparity in treatment. As of 2019, 13.6 percent of Black Americans were uninsured, and those who are insured may not be aware that behavioral and mental health benefits may be included in their plan.
In the United States, 86 percent of psychologists were white in 2015. As a result, white counselors commonly misdiagnose Black patients since they don’t have enough cultural competence to grasp their thoughts or feelings. According to research, African-Americans are underdiagnosed with mood disorders but are overdiagnosed with schizophrenia. Afraid of being hospitalized or labeled “mad,” African-Americans are reluctant to seek help because of this.
What I’m Doing to Set a New Cultural Standard for My Children
It was difficult for my parents to provide for my three siblings and myself in the face of an economically discriminatory society. Because of their numerous duties, they were reluctant to admit that their lives were stressful.
What I desire for my children is something different since I am a Black mother. My two 7-year-old children are surrounded by an atmosphere of openness and awareness when it comes to mental health. We openly discuss our emotions without fear of condemnation. They have value to me since they’ve been acknowledged and given importance. Be on the lookout for behavioral alterations as well. Despite the importance of our faith, we balance it with understanding so that they know God’s provision includes expert assistance.
We shouldn’t have to deal with our emotional problems on our own. When discussing feelings with children, parents should make it clear that seeking assistance (if necessary) is a natural part of the process. Rather than confiding in your spouse or a friend when you’re feeling overwhelmed, you turn to a professional who understands just what to do. Assert the role of counselors in the community by portraying them as selfless volunteers.
There is no need to pass on unhealthy habits to our children, no matter how taboo mental health is in the Black community. You should seek the advice of those who are familiar with the values and customs of your family.