Black Folks Suffer From Mental Illness in Silence

Peter Cade/Getty Images
Peter Cade/Getty Images

Despite high-profile instances of mental trauma and suicide, mental health remains largely absent from the black community's discourse, Nia Hamm writes in a piece for Ebony.

With the exception of African American celebrities or public figures who experience mental trauma, such as Illinois Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., or commit suicide as in the death of hip-hop legend Chris Lighty, mental health remains largely absent from the public discourse in the Black community.

But the statistics are loud and clear. African Americans are 20% more likely to report having serious psychological distress than non-Hispanic Whites, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Services. Yet young adult African Americans, especially those with higher levels of education, are less likely to seek mental health services than their White counterparts, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association …

"We know that African Americans have a disproportionate number who are also in poverty and a higher jobless rate. Women are less likely to be coupled or in supportive relationships and so those factors into why African Americans may have higher numbers of psychological disorders," said Dr. Janet Taylor, Director of the Guest Support Team for "The Jeremy Kyle Show" …

 "As a mental health professional what we want people to understand is they don't have to do it alone and that when you see your health care provider it's confidential," Dr. Taylor said.


Read Nia Hamm's entire piece at

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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