It appears that Black Women are being diagnosed with mental health disorders at alarming rates, which is concerning. As a a team of mental health professional who specializes in Black Women's Mental Health, the high diagnosis rate to be both exciting & noteworthy. Black Women have been burdened with an enormous amount of stress, pain, and expectations, while juggling multiple roles such as raising children, being a supportive partner, taking care of the family, serving in church, giving back to the community, and working outside the home. Throughout generations, we have been taught to be strong and self-sufficient, which has resulted in exhaustion, breakdowns, and mental health crises. This year, Black Women are embracing the “soft life” which has seen us recognizing the importance of self-care and seeking therapy in droves. We are finally recognizing that we cannot continue to be everything to everyone without taking care of ourselves first.
The reality is that mental health disorders manifest differently in Black Women than in other populations. While we may experience the same post-traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety, our symptoms often manifests in unexpected ways. For example, I had a client who was exhibiting signs of depression after a significant and life-altering breakup, but did not recognize it until her boss described her as "prickly." Despite performing well at work and being on track for a promotion, she was struggling with depression, which presented as increased irritability, emotional detachment, and difficulty experiencing pleasure in the work she once loved! She continued to maintain her outward appearance, taking care of her child and being an amazing friend, but her inner struggles were causing her to suffer in silence.
Overall, society and generational pressures, have failed to “allow” black women to need help and now black women are “taking” help. The increase in Black Women being diagnosed with a mental health disorder is more beneficial than harmful!