The Stigma(s) of Mental Health issues as it relates to keeping African Americans from seeking Counseling.

“What happens in this house stays in this house!” “YOU need to talk to someone!” “Can the counselor identify with me?”

Sometimes help hurts and seeking help can be a sign of weakness, especially in the black community.  Stemming from the days of slavery when the family structure was destroyed, African Americans found themselves searching for ways to cope with the negative and residual effects of slavery.  Counseling services were not in existence, seeking professional help was not an option.    African Americans had to find resiliency from within.  This coping mechanism became generational.  Allow me to explain, the grandparents passed these coping mechanisms onto their children, and their children onto their children, and so on. 

Historically black women have found therapy by focusing on other things such as scriptures, hymns, cooking and being the ultimate caregivers of their communities.  On the other end of the spectrum, black men have found therapy in things with temporary gratification such as, but not limited to high impact sports, infidelity, substance abuse, et al. 

In the 21st century, we find ourselves at the crossroads of embracing counseling versus our traditional upbringing.  This blog was composed to create an open forum between the readers and the author. Please share your thoughts and/or experiences on the things that may be keeping black people from seeking counseling. 


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