October 10, 2022, is World Mental Health Day!
You won’t be surprised to find that the mental health narrative varies around the world. Diverse cultures and customs shape opinions, approaches, and challenges when it comes to accessing mental health services.
Today, and all days, we believe no professional counseling service is complete without the holistic knowledge to understand and treat culturally diverse populations. This learning does not stop with us! As a patient, you too, have the power to advocate for an inclusive mental health culture.
Start by assessing the truth about mental health for People of Color.
POC experience complex stress and higher instances of trauma responses. Systems of oppression contribute to poor mental health functioning including anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Unlike their white counterparts, POC can face systemic barriers to accessing care like increased stigma, insurance costs, language barriers, finding a therapist of color, transportation, and other geographic challenges.
Black men can encounter severe toxic hypermasculinity and homophobia making them more likely to compartmentalize, bury their feelings, and develop long-lasting mental health concerns.
Black women historically witness and endure extreme violence, sexism, and childhood trauma resulting in mental health symptoms from a young age. However, their symptoms are often minimized or dismissed because of their perceived strength and tolerance.
Symptoms of Racial Trauma:
- Mirror PTSD
- Re-experiencing distressing events
- Chronic stress
95-98% of POC will drop out of therapy if there is a cultural mismatch.
POC also struggle to find black mental health professionals because there are simply not enough. In 2019, nearly 70% of U.S. social workers and 88% of mental health counselors were white. A lack of knowledge about the importance of community in black culture, misunderstanding of non-western European religions, and the nature of microaggressions are large factors that hinder the care a professional can provide. This can result in invalidation and undermined symptoms, leaving the patient feeling even more unvalued in an already marginalized community.
Diversifying your mental health knowledge does not stop here! We encourage you to continue learning today (World Mental Health Day) and every day. As we work to educate and diversify the mental health community, we all share the one universal truth of mental health: growth is made easier as we do it together!
If you believe Integrative Counseling Services can help you or a loved one, or if you or your organization wish to learn more about our offerings, please reach out to our main office at 570-955-5479.