As a Black man, I am continuously aware of some of the stigmas surrounding mental health from both a gender- and race-related perspective. More often than not, people of color feel that these services may make them look weak or that they are broken. However, taking proactive approaches – whether it be simple wellness practices such as yoga or meditation or more substantive ones such as structured therapy – could not show more strength.
As a licensed clinician myself, as well as someone reared by a parent with clinical depression, this is a topic very close to home. Quite frankly, seeing my parent struggle to hold conversations and even maintain simple tasks at home because of crippling depression, has molded me into someone passionate in the fight to remove stigmas around mental health. As a professor of psychology, I sought to infuse much of my own experiences in the area of mental health to help frame the minds of future educators and clinicians.
In our current culture, with the pandemic as the backdrop and social media serving constant pressure to promote life not always rooted in truth, the presence of depression consistently lingers – as we have seen in suicide reports.
Finally, I implore my fellow people of color to ignore some of the antiquated stereotypes of seeking therapy and wellness and simply be real with yourself. If you do not feel well – acknowledge it! If you feel the need to speak to someone, seek help from a trusted person to find that support. Most importantly though, pay attention to your proverbial “cup” and ensure that, when it runs low, you have the support and skills to understand how to “fill it!”
About the Author: Kyle Carter, M.Ed, LBS is a supervisor with the Community Wellness Engagement Unit in the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS).