Many of us still whisper and giggle around the dinner table or while playing cards or dominoes--- EVEN in CHURCH (I SAID I was gon' TALK about it!). "She had the cancer." "So and so got 'the sugar'." "Well, you know she had 'the AIDS'." The time has come to stop whispering about it and to start talking about it. All of it. Including the MYTH that black people do not commit suicide!
We need to educate ourselves about all the ills that ravage our community while we continue to bury our heads in the sand on the banks of the river of denial. Black, African-American, Blatino, Latino--- people of color, this applies to us all. We can 'run', but hiding is impossible, arrogant, and ignorant.
So let's start with "DEPRESSION". This isn't just about being a little upset because your team lost, or your man didn't remember (or even think about--- but that's a topic for another occasion!) your anniversary or birthday. Depression is a clinical, textbook disease or condition for which there is help. If we seek it out. There is no shame in getting help!
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr, according to The Mayo Clinic, is undergoing treatment for a deep depression related to bipolar disorder. There are treatments available, under which the Congressman is currently going.
Too often we fall back on the words "crazy as hell", or "fucked up in the head", but there is so much more to it than that. Having a good amount of pigment does not magically render us immune from the ailments mental health issues can raise. And that's another thing! Snap out of it! Mental Health is the goal! Mental illness is something different. We can avoid mental illness by seeking out help to maintain our mental health. African-Americans are not immune.
We need to draw--- and comprehend- the connection between drug and alcohol abuse, physical & verbal abuse, self-medicating and dodging the issue. Mental illness isn't really a thing to joke about. We have seen the horrifying results of untreated, or under-treated, mental illness in just the past few months. Aurora, the Sikh Temple and let's not forget Norway and Columbine.
The resultant violence affects people of all races, genders, ages and beliefs. In the case of the Aurora killings, African-Americans numbered among the victims or the survivors. Race is no shield against the rage of an unwell person, and is, clearly, no laughing matter. And, speaking of a person who appears to be unwell, some Birther-Rocker-Singer is accusing the President of "staging" the Aurora and Sikh massacres "to push through an arms ban."
Now I am not attempting to draw any sort of parallel to the mental states or conditions of the shooters and the politician at all. But I think it begs the question of what can become of a person suffering from an undiagnosed or untreated disorder. What happens if serious mental illness is left untreated? In the esteemed Congressman's case, and to his credit, he IS in treatment.
What is the Difference Between Bipolar Disorder and Depression?
Take an anonymous quiz to see if you, or someone you love, might be dealing with bipolar disorder or another mental health issue.
There is nothing wrong with learning that you might have a mental health issue. What is wrong, is not checking it out. There are many highly successful people, including celebrities who deal with Bipolar disorder and are alive, and thrive, in spite of it.
Where Can I Go For Help?
- Black Mental Health Alliance for Education and Consultation, Inc.
Are you in need of a mental health professional?
Should you need to make an appointment with a mental health professional, please feel free to contact us at (410)338-2642 or via Email
A mental health professional is a person trained to help individuals and/or families in emotional distress. Here at the Black Mental Health Alliance we link persons to a wide variety of resources such as psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, pastoral counselors, marital and family therapists and clinical social workers.
These professionals are sensitive to and appreciate cultural differences. Individuals who access this service will receive a listing for three mental health providers. We provide resources all over the country ranging from crisis calls to requests for therapeutic intervention. http://blackmentalhealth.com/
- African American Community Mental Health FACT SHEET
- "Do More for 1 in 4" is a call to action to help the 1 in 4 American adults who live with a diagnosable, treatable mental health condition and the fact that they can go on to live full and productive lives. Download the Do More For 1in4 Toolkit.
- Perceived racism may cause mental health symptoms similar to trauma among black Americans…more
- The California Black Women's Health Project
- Black men must overcome mental health stigmas (The Grio)
But the most important thing that we can do for ourselves, and each other, is to step into the light and out of the coffins we are putting ourselves in each year!
We OWE mental health to ourselves, our families, our children and our communities!
Don't just talk about it, family. BE about it! We can... and we MUST!
Asante Sana! Beijos e Tchau por agora!