The Stigma.

There is a negative stigma on mental health issues, in the black community. Many of us are living with depression, personality disorders, anxiety and so on. What often happens is that we self medicate instead of seeking professional help. Most of us are still in denial or have a lack of knowledge on the subject. How many times have you heard “that’s for white people”? Many in the black community believe that black people cannot possibly have a mental disorder. But a lot of us are living with them day by day. It’s time for us to become more aware, educated, and accepting on the topic of mental health.

We are taught to be strong and brave and deal with the cards dealt. “Stop all that crying” you may have heard when you were growing up. Some of us are conditioned to stop our emotions and keep trucking forward. Especially our black men. They are expected to be the strongest and protective.

“I was told the true definition of a man was to never cry
Work till you tired (yeah) got to provide (yeah)
Always be the rock for my fam, protect them by all means” (lyrics by Musiq Soulchild/Song: Teachme)

Because of this mindset, black men are afraid to appear weak (soft) and less of a man for “expressing their feelings.” Which in turn results in a lot of angry, hurt, and frustrated individuals. Most of our black men with mental health issues end up in jail or taking their own lives.

Black women are expected to be the “ridah” and the backbone of our community. Take everything thrown at us and still keep ourselves presentable for the public. Can’t be angry because no one likes “the angry black woman” can’t be sad because there’s no time to be weak there’s work to do. Well, I’m here to tell you it is OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY.

Let’s start to raise awareness on this topic. Build support groups in our local communities to help each other out. Make YouTube videos, write blogs, make an IG video to spread the word that we are human and we have emotions and quirks about us that still make us beautiful.

Jolie’s, I will leave you with this; Black people there is NOTHING wrong with seeking help. There is NOTHING wrong with feeling different and not understanding your emotions and thoughts. What is wrong is keeping these things to yourself and suffering in silence. There is no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed.

Let’s break the stigma together.

I love us truly,
Alexandra Joli


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