EMBRACE YOUR CROWN CAMPAIGN
Fight the stigma.
What has been your experience with mental health? Are there any struggles you overcame or how do you hope to help others overcome theirs? My mother is bipolar and she also suffers from depression. Growing up I was always quiet. I always kept to myself, I never wanted to be bothered by anyone. I never knew or thought that there was anything wrong with me and I also didn’t recognize that there was anything wrong with my mother. As I got older, I put myself in situations that I shouldn’t have been in and relationships that I shouldn’t have indulged in. These relationships really took a toll on me. My junior year of college was when I really went on a downward spiral. I started to self-harm myself. I was unhappy. I was in a relationship that was unhealthy. I was losing friends. I had no one to talk to. I was really hurt because no one saw the pain I was in and no one saw that I was harming myself. No one noticed anything until I went missing for a week. I was admitted into a behavioral health treatment program. While there I had time to reflect, cry, talk through my emotions, and learn. I had to learn to stop bottling things up, to let go, and be more open. This was the most scariest thing I’ve been through. I am still learning everyday about mental health and have been more open to talking to people.
From your knowledge, what myths or negative stigmas have been attached to black mental health? If any, how did they shape your thoughts about getting help/going to therapy?
Two words that come to my mind when I think about black mental health is crazy and church. I think in the black community most associate therapy with being crazy. I also think in the black community when individuals talk about going to therapy the older black community always question why and they believe church is the answer. No one wants to seek therapy with a negative stigma of being crazy and I believe that is the biggest fear many have.
Have you ever been to therapy? Why or why not? On a scale of 1-5 how important is it to have a therapist that is culturally competent?
Yes, I went to therapy when I needed help dealing with depression and anxiety. I remembered my first session I broke down crying. I didn’t expect that because I’m normally not that open with anyone but the time was right and it was most definitely something needed. 5
Lastly, what would make your experience with mental health better?
Culturally Competent Therapists; Affordable Therapy; Family Support