The Taboo of the Black Community


What is it? Does it make you weak? Are you silent about it? How do you really feel? Or do you even know how you are supposed to feel? Does it make you feel embarrassed? Are you ashamed? Is it ACCEPTED?

Acceptance, oh how we yearn for acceptance by all humankind but somehow, it is NEVER enough. We get so caught up trying to be accepted that we forget who we truly are as individuals, UNTIL trauma occurs. 

I was inspired to bring awareness to MENTAL HEALTH in the Black community. I recently watched two YouTube videos concerning mental health among Black people and both speakers made some valid points. 

Dr. Michael Lindsey of the NYU Silver School of Social Work focused on how mental health is affected by traumatic events in Black people’s lives. He touched on how slavery, which many of our ancestors experienced, plays a major role in how we react to the traumatic events of today. Another interesting facet I took from his video is how the church plays a pivotal role in relieving mental health issues among the Black community. The church equates to a safe haven for people to become relieved of their issues by being surrounded by like-minded individuals who empower them. Click the link below, and watch as Dr. Michael Lindsey uncovers some significant issues the Black community faces, regarding mental health:

Dr. Michael Lindsey

Another video, which definitely hit home for most of us (hence the title of my blog post), by Maia Noelle discussed how mental health is a taboo among the Black community. She starts off with making a comparison of the perception of mental health among White people versus Black people. For example, when Dylan Roof murdered 9, Black people attending a church service in South Carolina, there was a general consensus that he had a mental issue. However, if it was flipped around, say for instance Dylan Roof was a Black male that did the same thing, he would be considered a blatant criminal, or worse a monster. BUT, why could the Black Dylan Roof not be diagnosed with a mental illness instead? 


I bet you are wondering who made this up……. It is us! We act like it is a taboo to have a mental illness, so we put up this front to make it seem like we are okay when we are NOT OKAY. Maia Noelle made more valid points throughout her video, but this is the major point I am speaking on. Many people are in denial of how they really feel and want to make themselves okay, when they are indeed not okay. I am not perfect BECAUSE I DO IT TOO. I have to admit, I am affected by many events in my life that I have yet to come to terms with. My heart feels like it skips a beat everyday when I think about traumatizing events I have experienced in my life. The questions I put at the beginning of this blog post were for a reason, because we seriously have to ask ourselves, ARE WE OKAY? 

We need to do more talking. We are hiding. We cannot allow the stigma of mental health to defy us. 

The cup is empty, Black Coffee


This picture was taken by Kimber Amadi during a 2014 public awareness campaign titled “Behind the Stigma”. This campaign was sponsored by the Black Students Health Association at UC Berkeley.


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