Our Mental Health Matters

Updated: Aug 5

Welcome everybody to the next entry of The Rainbow We Fly Over! Again, thank you all who have continuously read, especially with everything going on. I truly value everyone that takes the time out to read my entries! Every reader is greatly appreciated, and there is more to come! I do want to give a TRIGGER WARNING, I will be mentioning self-harm and suicide within this entry today.


As promised in my Lime Green entry, I bring to y’all the entry dedicated to July which is the home of National BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Mental Health Awareness Month! This lovely awareness month was established in 2008 in order to acknowledge the very complex relationship between mental health, cultural stigma, and overall healthcare. (Mental Health America also created a toolkit dedicated to BIPOC Mental Health to aid in proper mental hygiene.) The general concept of mental health awareness does not specifically acknowledge the weight that identity and culture play within a person’s daily life. As we know, every culture has its superstitions, beliefs, standards, expectations, and much more that deeply shape how we perceive and act within society. Not every person has the same walk of life even if they are in the same culture. Yet, for some odd reason, institutions haven’t gotten that hint (or maybe they have and just don’t care).


As I have expressed many times throughout my entries, the overall Black community is in a physical and figurative unprotected space within society. The bulk of our community lives in places riddled with food deserts, police brutality, black-on-black violence, drugs, inadequate resources for health care… I would continue, but I think y’all get it. This provides a disadvantage to obtain viable and sufficient support when we have an extreme amount of healing to do as a community. On top of all of that, this topic of mental health within the Black community has been ignored and written off as unimportant. We have essentially become “immune” to our trauma and trek along as if constant pain is a norm. To give y’all some statistics to think about, provided by minorityhealth.hhs.gov

  1. Poverty level affects mental health status. African Americans living below the poverty level, as compared to those over twice the poverty level, are twice as likely to report psychological distress.

  2. In 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death for African Americans, ages 15 to 24.

  3. The death rate from suicide for African American men was more than four times greater than for African American women, in 2017.

  4. African American females, grades 9-12, were 70 percent more likely to attempt suicide in 2017, as compared to non-Hispanic white females of the same age.

  5. A report from the U.S. Surgeon General found that from 1980 - 1995, the suicide rate among African Americans ages 10 to 14 increased 233 percent, as compared to 120 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

Unfortunately, we are not the only ones. Lack of mental health awareness and access to resources are regular plagues in general homes of color. The communities with the most generational hurt and pain are the same ones without the care or satisfactory aid to set a better example for those around us. 

  1. Violent deaths, unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide, account for 75% of all mortality in the second decade of life for American Indian/Alaska Natives.

  2. In 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death for American Indian/Alaska Natives between the ages of 10 and 34.

  3. Suicide was the leading cause of death for Asian Americans, ages 15 to 24, in 2017.

  4. The overall suicide rate for Asians Americans is half that of the non-Hispanic white population.

  5. In 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Hispanics, ages 15 to 34.

  6. Poverty level affects mental health status. Hispanics living below the poverty level, as compared to Hispanics over twice the poverty level, are over twice as likely to report psychological distress.

It pains me to see my own community and others in this much trauma without appropriate outlets. We have so much grace as people of color despite our hardships within the world we live in. We came from greatness before capitalism, colonialism, and racism. These societal diseases now curse the very land that is soaked in our ancestor’s blood. And in their honor, we will continue to uplift our communities by any means. 


They Mattered. We Matter. Our Mental Health Matters. Protect Your Light. 


I have linked a few resources I highly recommend to either spread awareness, expand knowledge, or initiate conversations. I hope you all enjoy them!


~Cheyenne 


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health: https://www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/content.aspx?ID=9447

Mental Health America: https://mhanational.org/BIPOC-mental-health-month

Full 2020 BIPOC Health Toolkit: https://mhanational.org/sites/default/files/2020%20BIPOC%20MHM%20TOOLKIT%20FINAL%206.29.20.pdf

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Therapy For Black Girls: https://therapyforblackgirls.com/

Beam: https://www.beam.community/bvtn

Black Girl + Mental Health: https://blackgirlmentalhealth.tumblr.com/

Ourselves, Black: https://ourselvesblack.com/

The Siwe Project: http://www.thesiweproject.org/

Tracy G, Wellness Artist:  @itstracyg (Instagram), https://www.shesbeautyandthebeast.com/

Dr. Candice Nicole, Counseling Psychologist: @dr.candicenicole (Instagram), http://drcandicenicole.com/

Kindred Medicine: @kindredmedicine (Instagram), https://linktr.ee/kindredmedicine

Afrosexology: @afrosexology (Instagram), http://www.afrosexology.com/links

The Nap Ministry: @thenapministry (Instagram), https://linktr.ee/thenapministry

Black Girl In Om: @blackgirlinom (Instagram), https://linktr.ee/blackgirlinom

Food Heaven: @foodheaven (Instagram), https://linktr.ee/foodheaven

Decolonizing Therapy: @decolonizing therapy, https://linktr.ee/decolonizingtherapy

Rwenshaun, Psychotherapist focuses on Black men’s mental health: @rwenshaun (Instagram), https://www.rwenshaun.com/links

Journey to Launch: @journeytolaunch (Instagram),http://journeytolaunch.com/instagramlinks

 
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