There are countless myths and stigmas that surround depression in the Black community, particularly the strong black woman.
The Myths Impacting the Strong Black Woman
Myths surrounding the “strong Black women” can create needless pain and confusion. It can ultimately keep people from getting proper treatment.
“Strong Black women” are supposed to:
- Have their own
- Not depend on anyone else for anything, but still ‘let a man be a man’
- Be sexy, but not too sexy or thirsty for a man
- Be able to do for others and for themselves without showing weakness
- …and so much more
Common Misconceptions Around the Strong Black Woman
The following statements reflect some common misconceptions about African Americans and depression:
“If our people could make it through slavery, we can make it through anything.”
“When a black woman suffers from a mental disorder, the opinion is that she is weak. And weakness in black women is intolerable.”
“You should take your troubles to Jesus, not some stranger/psychiatrist.”
“You’re too strong of a Black woman to be feeling this way. Ge over yourself.”
“Do you know how many people are depending on you? Pull it together.”
The truth is, people with depression can’t just “snap out of it.”
Strong Black Woman and Depression
Professor and blogger writer Monica Coleman, Ph.D writes:
“In many ways, I do think that there is a greater stigma among African American culture than among white cultures. I live in southern California, and many white people will freely reference “seeing a therapist” in normal conversation. Black people don’t do that. Seeing a therapist is generally seen as a sign of weakness or a lack of faith. There is still an active mythos of ‘the strong black woman,’ who is supposed to be strong and present and capable for everyone in her family – and neglects her own needs.