Many in the African American community still have a stigma against seeking help for a mental disorder from a professional. Many use the terms “pray it away” or “he/she’s just ‘a little’ crazy” or even “he/she will grow out of it.” But the truth is, seeing a licensed therapist for help with an issue or condition can help.
In order to dispel the myth of seeking professional help, a campaign, #endthestigma, was created where users would take pictures with text saying that they too have a therapist. The images were powerful. Here’s one woman’s account of why she chose to end the stigma too:
I spent many years in insecurity. And within my church community I was told that I just didn’t believe God enough, that my faith wasn’t great enough to dispel my doubts.
In these last years, I lose my grandmother (who I loved and leaned upon heavily), and last year I lost my best friend and sister of 16 years to cancer. With these losses of loved ones, I also lost friendships and relationships, and never seemed to be a more optimistic person over all.
I only started seeing a counselor in 2011, but made a switch after last year’s tragedies. I tried to skirt around seeing one because of the culture I came up with, that “black people deal with their problems on their own” and “I am crazy.”I got a new counselor through my church; and in dealing with my grief, I find out after all these years of struggling with myself that I also had dysthymic disorder (a low grade depression)! Like, wow!
Counselors and therapists who are not in your life expect by paying them to listen to you is not a horrible thing. They are trained to steer your thinking to a healthy perspective and provide insight. I have seen so many people in the African American community fall through the cracks on getting sufficient mental health treatment, going through life…