Racial and gender-based discrimination directed toward black women has been linked to various long-term physical and mental health challenges such as high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
The strong black woman stereotype worsens existing stress because of the expectation that black women need to look strong and not discuss their challenges.
This can also impact help-seeking behaviors. Experiences with discrimination and the pressure to not express pain can impact how quickly a black woman might seek medical care, despite the need.
This can have a further impact on health disparities such as maternal death and breast cancer, both of which have a higher prevalence among young black women compared to white women.
So What Can We do?
Remember, there’s no shame in seeking help. No man–or woman–is an island.
Ask for help. Talk to someone and don’t be afraid of baby steps. Nothing was solved overnight, so give yourself the kind of grace you feel like you need to give to others.
And remember the “S” on your chest does not stand for superwoman, it means “self-care.” Self-care can be your superpower. By pouring into yourself, you can then pour out to others so much more.