MENTAL HEALTH: Is It Real? – National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Khandyce Pitner, M.Ed, LPC

Jul 6, 2021

“You don’t need a therapist, you just need to pray about it.” “We don’t take things outside of this house, deal it with us.” “Are you crazy? What do you need a counselor for?” – A plethora or Minority families.

Though all races, ethnicities, and cultures may have heard these statements, or some alike, minority groups tend to experience this stigma and thought-process at greater rates.

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Through my extensive cultural-competency training, personal experience, and internal knowledge, I have heard statements alike in my personal life, professional life, and as minority individuals approach me to discuss seeking guidance. I have also had the pleasure of learning the beautiful intricacies of different cultures. In some minority cultures, fear of medical/healthcare professionals is real. In other minority cultures, the value on family and familial support is priority. Other minority cultures place high value on spiritual or religious practices. 

Each of these intricacies have beauty, strength, and resilience. It is beneficial to understand what mental health IS and is NOT. When we begin to understand that mental health is as real and relevant as physical health, we begin to de-stigmatize one of the most beneficial things that can happen: Seeking mental health assistance and guidance from a professional. 
If someone struggles with a broken bone, cancer, diabetes, or simply wants a check-up to ensure the body is working properly, seeking necessary professional assistance is seen as normal. Well, when we understand that mental health is in the same boat, we see the normality in seeking mental health assistance from a professional; whether we believe we have a mental health illness, want a check-up, or simply want a safe and comfortable space to express yourself without fear of judgement. 

Minority Mental Health: 

Black/African American Community

  • Percent of African Americans with Mental Illness: 17%
  • Number of African Americans with Mental Illness: 6.8 million

Latinx/Hispanic American Community

  • Percent of Latinx/Hispanic Americans with Mental Illness: 15% 
  • Number of Latinx/Hispanic Americans with Mental Illness: 8.9 million

Asian American/Pacific Islander Community

  • Percent of Asian Americans with Mental Illness: 13% 
  • Number of Asian Americans with Mental Illness: 2.2 million

Native and Indigenous Communities

  • Percent of Native Americans/Alaskan Natives with Mental Illness: 23% 
  • Number of Native Americans/Alaskan Natives with Mental Illness: 830,000

What Mental Health is NOT:
  • A ‘crazy-person’s disease
  • Seeking attention
  • Fake 
  • Something to be prayed away
  • Able to be handled solely with support system outside of professional help 
  • Stupid/Dumb/Weird
  • Shameful
  • Something to be disregarded

What Mental Health IS: 
  • Part of our wellbeing
  • Normal
  • Valid
  • A part of healthcare – Just as your physical doctor is healthcare
  • Part of everyone’s lives
  • Treatable 
  • Common in society

Ways To Knock Out The Stigma! *insert punch emoji* 
  • Talk Openly About Mental Health
  • Educate Yourself And Others
  • Be Conscious Of Language
  • Encourage Equality Between Physical And Mental Illness
  • Show Compassion For Those With Mental Illness
  • Choose Empowerment Over Shame
  • Be Honest About Treatment
  • Let The Media Know When They’re Being Stigmatizing
  • Don’t Harbor Self-Stigma


If you remember nothing else from this article, please remember this… “Not everyone has a mental illness, but everyone has mental health.” – Khandyce Pitner, M.Ed, LPC

 


BIPOC Mental Health . Mental Health America. (2021). https://www.mhanational.org/bipoc-mental-health. 

Greenstein , L. (2017, October 11). 9 Ways to Fight Mental Health Stigma. National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/blogs/nami-blog/october-2017/9-ways-to-fight-mental-health-stigma. 

Khandyce Pitner, M.Ed, LPC – Mental Health Therapist 

 

Written by:

Khandyce Pitner, M.Ed, LPC

Marketing manager

Jul 6, 2021

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