Challenging the Stigma of Mental Illness

New campaign promotes awareness, discussion in black community

Thabiti Boone in a print ad for mental health awareness. (Click to enlarge)

Although a lack of health insurance is one of many reasons mental health care is not sought in the black community, many neglect treatment because the stigma associated with it can cause shame and embarrassment. Also, the belief by some religions that mental health problems can be cured through prayer and faith is another reason why some people do not admit they aren’t well or seek professional help, says Del Vecchio.

So instead of getting the help they need, many people suffering from mental illness self-medicate with alcohol and illegal drugs.

“The disparities that African Americans experience in accessing mental health care can be overcome through increased awareness and education,” said Kathryn A. Power, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. “Raising the African American community’s understanding and attention to these issues will provide greater opportunities for recovery from mental health problems.”

Click here to find a mental health care provider near you.

Resources
The Stay Strong Foundation

National Alliance on Mental Health

The Black Mental Health Alliance

Mental Health America

Black Psychiatrists of America

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