#19 Challenging Mental Health Stigma in the Black Community - Trudy Stone

#19 Challenging Mental Health Stigma in the Black Community

We can’t deny it any longer: there is a Black mental health crisis in our world today, a crisis that has been made worse by recent events like the pandemic and social injustice. 

In the Black community, there is a negative stigma surrounding mental health. Instead of seeking professional help for conditions such as depression and anxiety, many in the community resort to self-medication (drugs, opioids, alcohol, etc.) or isolation in an attempt to solve their problems on their own.

This week on the Mind Your Body Show we sit down with Martine Lopez, a mental health social worker who offers important information on the mental health crisis in the Black community, how to combat stigma, spot potential mental illness, how to practice emotional wellness, and how to get the best care possible in a system steeped in racial bias.

Here’s a look at what we’ll discuss in this episode: 

  • [4:45] The root of mental health stigma among black people can be traced back to slavery days.
  • [6:00] There is a lack of cultural sensitivity by health care professionals. Black people feel marginalized and tend to rely on their families, community, and spiritual support instead of seeking medical treatments.
  • [7:44] It’s critical that workplaces and organizations are reminded that as black people. We are not a monolith. This does not mean that we do not experience collective grief, but our experiences vary. 
  • [9:28] The Black Community has gone through trauma that no other community has experienced, so we need to create and develop a system with widespread access to mental health resources.
  • [11:00] There is still a perpetuation of misconceptions about mental health, and bringing that education and awareness to our community is the first step.
  • [11:48] Education can take place on a micro-level as well as a macro-level. 
  • [12:13] We need to become more aware of our attitudes and beliefs towards the Black Community to reduce those implicit biases and those negative assumptions that we often go to.
  • [13:31] The world that we live in right now is very different from the world that we were raised in years and years ago. Children face a lot more pressure now these days than ever before.
  • [18:10] What I’ve been doing with my children specifically, is helping them to see things differently because the world is different, so we have to think of it differently, we have to perceive it in a different way. 
  • [18:22] Something that is a concept that is rooted in mindfulness is the gratitude practice. 
  • [18:49] Changing that perspective by kind of seeing the glass full rather than kind of half-empty, I find it helps build that resilience to stress.
  • [19:05] Something that has also been quite helpful for my children is sticking to a routine. Though their routine is different now than it was pre-COVID, we all thrive off of routines even adults as well. 
  • [20:04] When we feed our minds healthy things, the output will be the same.
  • [20:30] Motivation comes from actualization.
  • [21:10] One thing that I think is a preventative measure that, as parents, we can instill in our children is limiting the amount of news intake. 
  • [24:00] A part of meeting their emotional needs also means creating a safe place for them to express and share how they feel right now. 
  • [25:45] Music is a great tool in terms of therapy.
  • [25:58] Music can also induce negative feelings depending on where you are.


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