Black History Month: Creating a Mentally Healthier World

Black History Month is celebrated in February of each year. It is a time to recognize the role Black Americans have played in the United States, both past and present. It’s a time to celebrate achievements and raise awareness of ongoing issues faced in black communities to create a mentally healthier world.

At MySpectrum, we strive to foster an environment where every person feels welcomed and valued. We want to raise awareness of the systemic racism that exists, which causes Black Americans to be less likely to seek mental health care, even though the rates of mental illness in black communities are similar, if not higher, than the general population. This creates ongoing patterns of continued mental health struggles, which often lead to cycles of poverty, incarceration, unemployment, crime, and recidivism that perpetuate stigmas and biases about black and marginalized communities.

To reduce and break the cycle, we begin by speaking about it. We raise awareness that the problem exists. Mental illness affects one in four Americans. However, Black Americans are disproportionately more likely to experience mental health issues and social stigma. Historical adversity, which includes slavery, sharecropping, and race-based exclusion from health, educational, social, and economic resources, translates into socioeconomic disparities. Black American mental health statistics show that socioeconomic status, in turn, is linked to mental health. People who are impoverished, homeless, incarcerated, or have substance use problems are at higher risk for poor mental health.

Mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender, or identity. Anyone can experience the challenges of mental illness regardless of their background. However, background and identity can make access to mental health treatment much more difficult. At MySpectrum, we offer therapy by a diverse team of culturally competent Therapists, with many receiving more extensive training in cultural awareness and treatment. Our online counseling service is designed to be accessible, to reduce barriers to accessing mental health treatment due to transportation issues, geographic distance, or financial resources that might limit attending appointments in an office difficult.

Every month of the year we should be working to break down barriers to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health. Black Americans should have unlimited access to mental health and substance abuse resources and care, regardless of their social or financial status. At MySpectrum, we accept all forms of Virginia Medicaid, most Medicare plans, commercial and employer-based insurance plans, Tricare insurance, and EAPs, and are willing to work with individuals on payment plans with financial barriers becoming an obstacle to continued care.

If you or a loved one is seeking treatment for mental health, get started with us today here.