More than ever, mental health is something that we should constantly focus on. May is mental health awareness month but every single day we must practice our awareness.
One thing that I’ve noticed, though, is that when it comes to people of color and mental health, we are often placed on the back burner.
When we see advertisements on how to deal with depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, etc., it is often presented with white women as examples. How can we relate to that? This may be looked at as unproblematic to some, but to those of us who actually see the world for what it is, we know that this is a very important topic that isn’t discussed as often as it should be.
People of color are excluded, and ignored more than ever, if we even think to speak up about our mental illnesses. Furthermore, because of the current society we live in, even our friends and family are having a hard time understanding us and what we suffer through each and every day. In The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook: A Guide to Healing, Recovery, and Growth, Glenn R. Schiraldi states that,
“Healing occurs in a climate of safety and pacing. When you were traumatized, you were not safe. This time, however, you will always remain safe and in control.”
But in a world where we are constantly seeing our culture be appropriated and our people being killed without justice being served, how can one of color feel even the slightest bit of safe? There is so much negativity that affects us mentally that we don’t even realize it until we seek help, from someone that is often white, who can’t empathize, let alone help, because they simply do not understand how we feel.
We face trauma everyday because we have been made invisible when it comes to mental health, and that is why it’s harder for people of color to speak up and seek the help that we deserve. This is why things like the People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Projectcreated by Dior Vargas (Latina feminist mental health activist and suicide attempt survivor); which can be found here : http://diorvargas.com/poc-mental-illness , are so important, because it showcases that we, YOU, are not alone. You can speak up, you shouldspeak up, because there are others out there just like you, facing the exact same demons as you, and it’s okay to not be okay. It is important that we create our own safe spaces, it is important that we talk about what we go through, and it is so very important that we heal.
Please, if you need help or just want someone to talk to, do your research. We will no longer stand to be invisible or placed in a category that goes unnoticed.
Listed below are a few websites that you can visit to find therapists of color in your area:
-I personally am ALWAYS open to lend an ear if anyone should ever feel the need to reach out.
Melanin Girls Club X Amber Taylor