Why More Black People Are Overcoming The Stigma of Mental Illness and Seeking Therapy

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http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-woman-gesturing-speaking-to-her-therapist-who-taking-notes-image31099323By Krystle Crossman

Mental health issues are extremely prevalent in the US. There are so many people who suffer from illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety among other things. While so many, no matter their race, suffer, there are many more who do not get help for it. In 2008 it was shown that whites got treatment or counseling for their mental health issues at almost twice the rate as blacks. In 2010 a survey showed that whites also received prescriptions for mental health issues twice as much as blacks. It is at the point to where African Americans feel that they cannot speak comfortably about mental illness.

In the last decade however the acceptance of going to therapy by African Americans has risen. This is particularly true for those who are well educated or who live in urban areas with a large black population. There haven’t been any studies on a large scale about why this increase has come about, but medical professionals attest that they have seen the number of African American patients on the rise in counseling offices.

Psychologist Jeffrey Gardere says that he sees people feel like there is less of a stigma hanging over them about mental illness so they are more comfortable reaching out and seeking out help from professionals. He also said that in the last ten years he has seen a 20-25% increase in the number of African American patients who come into his office.

The message is getting across somehow. Gerdere believes that those who are going and receiving therapy and seeing the results of what therapy can do for them and they are bringing this message back home to friends and relatives. The friends and relatives in turn go to therapy if they feel they need it and talk to their friends and relatives about it.

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