As we draw into the start of another month we must continue the conversation on mental health. From access to stigmas, mental health continues to hinder communities of color in greater disparities than White counterparts.
According to the U.S. Office of Minority Health, 10.5% (3.5 million) of young adults age 18 to 25 had serious thoughts of suicide including 8.3% of non-Hispanic African Americans and 9.2% of Hispanics in 2017. In that same year 7.5% (2.5 million) of young adults age 18 to 25 had a serious mental illness including 7.6% of non-Hispanic Asians, 5.7% of Hispanics and 4.6% of non-Hispanic African Americans. These statistical trends are still prevalent today.
In recent news we've seen Tamar Braxton in numerous headlines for her recent hospitalization. It's apparent that love and support is highly generated as a reactive occasion and not a proactive approach. We've also seen headlines referring to Kanye West and his rants. It's ever so clear that socio-economic status does not prevent you from suffering from mental health challenges.
It is also clear that our communities of color continue to suffer in silence while fueling news media narratives. How can we collectively change this narrative in our culture?
Here are some suggestions that may warrant change:
● Check Yourself. If you're continuously struggling with peer interactions and family dynamics, then it may be time for some personal reflection. You can't always be the victim. Although some may easily be targeted, you play a role in every dynamic as well. Seek help.
● Check Your Circle. In recent news we saw that Dave Chappelle rushed to Kanye's side amid his rants and mental breakdown. We all need friends like Dave! Check your circle and if you honestly can't rely on them in a time of need, then they aren't your friends or apart of your village. Simple as that.
● Check Your Access. Most people pay bi-weekly for medical care that they never use. This baffles me! Call the customer service number on the back of your insurance cards or visit their website to see what type of mental health coverage you have. If it's not covered or you're without insurance, don't fret. Many local health departments offer free or sliding scale services. Another option is to adjust your spending to possibly pay out of pocket for individual sessions. One less happy hour or Amazon package won't hurt you as much as an untreated mental health illness.
Although there's no magic wand to cure this narrative overnight, change still starts at home. With each given day and collective engagement, we can see positive strides in the lives of our community and culture. We don't need to normalize hashtags more than people. Stay the course and do your part to fight against mental health disparities.
Writer, C. Scott, is a mother of one; author, social worker, early literacy interventionist and entrepreneur. Follow her on Instagram as @curls_coils and @mysweettealife.