Confronting the Crisis of Mental Health in Black Communities

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It is common to hear comments such as “That’s crazy talk!” or “Girl, you’re crazy!” in casual conversations among Black people. While often used in a joking fashion, the reference to mental health is a serious topic, especially in Black communities where mental health is often considered off limits. Those who dare broach the subject are frequently greeted with perplexed, cynical, and even outright hostile looks from others. These responses result from several factors, ranging from stigma to misinformation. Despite these challenges, we must directly address the problem of mental health, especially in Black communities.       

Mental illness in African American communities is a real and ongoing crisis. According to a study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, Black children between 5-12 are twice as likely to die by suicide as white children of the same age. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, African Americans…

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