In a recent #CDC report spanning 2018 to 2020, it was disclosed that Black adults sought emergency room care for mental health issues at a rate nearly twice the national average. This disproportionate trend extended across all mental health disorder categories when compared to Hispanic and white adults.
News 5 Cleveland anchor Danita Harris, known for her coverage on mental health in the Black community, was intrigued by this study. She engaged a therapist and a mother, Tatianna Thompson, who disclosed her personal struggles navigating mental health challenges within a community already grappling with such issues.
In discussions with licensed therapist Robyn Hill, reasons behind the increased ER visits by Black adults were addressed. Hill attributed this trend to distress, and lack of immediate access to mental health services among other challenges.
Tatianna Thompson, an individual interviewed for the report, shared a distressing incident involving her son’s emergency room visit due to suicidal thoughts after a heated confrontation at home.
“Being a bi-racial child in a predominantly black community. People discussing the texture of my hair or how I looked. At some point I was like you know, I was blaming my dad for you know, like not being black,” says Thompson. Thompson also highlighted a prevalent mistrust toward non-Black counseling professionals, citing cultural gaps and a lack of understanding.
According to a report from USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, mental health concerns within the Black community are frequently exacerbated by the psychological strain caused by systemic racism. This leads to a situation where African American adults are 20 percent more inclined to disclose significant psychological distress compared to their white counterparts. Additionally, the act of seeking mental health support faces stigma in many black communities, resulting in only one in three African Americans grappling with mental health challenges actually obtaining the necessary and suitable treatment.
Hill advocated for a more open, culturally sensitive approach from mental health professionals, emphasizing the need to listen and learn from patients to reduce stigmas within the African American community.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call or text 988.
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