Updated: Mar 11, 2020
I’d like to first start off by saying that as a white woman in America, I cannot begin to understand the realities that the African American community faces. Instead of trying to put myself in those shoes, I’ll share the reality that I stand behind the idea that every single person deserves the same opportunities as the next. Recognizing how imperfect our system is, I understand that a single blog post won't change it. However, I hope that with the information I’ve gathered, I can shed light on the system that is, in no other words, broken. I can educate myself with the hope of educating others in the process.
Mental health disorders don’t discriminate against anyone: black, white, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, etc. Mental health disorders say, “This is fair game and I pick you, regardless of who you are”. Mental health disorders say “I don’t recognize that an entire community of people have been underserved and overlooked, I pick you”.
Only 3.7% of members in the American Psychiatric Association and 1.5% of members in the American Psychological Association are African American. For lack of better words, what the fuck. The lack of cultural competence alone could keep anyone away from the healthcare system, especially one that has historically been discriminatory towards African Americans.
30% of African Americans with mental illnesses receive treatment every year, compared to 43% of the US average. 29% of African Americans lack the money and/or healthcare to receive treatment. Furthermore, 1 in 11 African Americans don’t have healthcare at all. How, can we as community advocates for mental wellness change the stigma that discriminates against those that mental health disorders do not discriminate against? I don’t have the answer- I wish I did.
Being advocates for mental health comes with the responsibility to advocate for everyone, not a singular group of people. To ensure that all people are advocated for, we must acknowledge groups that are often be overlooked, and then we support them. The best way to call action upon The Exposure Project community is to share resources, statistics, events, and more as we learn more ourselves. READ, RESEARCH, AND, VOTE! It’s the only way we can make a true and everlasting difference.
We’ve credited our sources below and linked a number of resources.
Psychology Today is like Tinder but for a therapist, most of whom are willing to work with your insurance coverage or budget: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists