Racial Identity and Mental Health in Franklin, MA
There are specific mental health concerns communities of color face that are brought on by systemic oppression. It is vital to acknowledge this fact when beginning to understand racial discrimination and the unique challenges it presents to people of color who are seeking mental health counseling. Stress is accumulated in the face of discrimination and these anxieties, stressors, and unspoken conditions are often not addressed due to inequities in coverage, location, social and racial expectations, and economic uncertainty. With many mental health concerns rooted in specific racial anxieties, it can be comforting to talk to a therapist of color who may be able to share in the unpacking of these deeply ingrained traumas. Our therapists will value you, your identity, your history, and your goals for the future. We are here to listen and work with you on a path forward.
In order to pursue racial justice and equality it is vital that one is able to access and partake readily in the maintenance of their mental health. The Black Lives Matter movement, coupled with the pandemic, have exposed the inequities that black communities and all communities of color face when addressing their mental health care concerns. Black Americans are disproportionately affected when it comes to quality mental healthcare. This pattern can be better understood when we inspect the concept of identity and how it fits into our shared American narrative.
When seeking counseling, it can be hard to know what to say and what not to say. Often stigmas about one’s mental health abound directly because of ingrained and damaging social mindsets. Beyonce Knowles said that “It’s been said that racism is so American that when we protest racism, some assume we’re protesting America.” Black communities are simultaneously fighting for rights and combating a narrative that suggests they are trying to undo the nation itself. The amount of emotional, social and spiritual stress this lays at the feet of people of color is heavy and unique in nature. True recognition of identity matters precisely because when it is valued it necessarily involves different groups reflecting on one another’s customs, rituals, beliefs, ancestries, and cultures. It is in this realm that we delve into the mental ailments that require counseling, life-coaching, online counseling, and other methods of therapy.
Where does racial discrimination exist in society?
Racial discrimination consists of actions taken toward a group of people based on prejudice. Prejudice exists when pre-judgment of people occurs due to their racial or social group. These actions unfold in society and can take the form of threats, exclusion, slander and physical violence. Here are a few areas where racial discrimination is prevalent in society:
- Black students are disproportionally affected by harsh disciplinary actions at school. Federal data released in 2018 shows widening disparities between black and white students facing referrals to authorities and arrests. Racial discrimination exists in our schools. What students wear and how they speak are often patrolled and censored. This instills a feeling of separateness in our young learners and places them firmly outside a system that should offer guidance and support.
- Social media platforms and traditional media outlets present cynical and misleading content that continue to reinforce negative racial stereotypes. Social media consumes our time like never before and this can cause new stressors we are unprepared to deal with.
- Injustices visited upon people of color by authority figures have created discrimination across America.
- Immigration concerns and anxiety are heightened when people have to worry if they will be seized at work or if their son or daughter will be able to register for fall classes or escape an unstable country.
What is the history of mental healthcare within the black community in the US?
Since the founding of America there has been a dismissal of the mental health concerns facing black Americans. This in turn has been internalized into a stigma and reinforced by equally unproductive racial mentalities and today there are people in the black community who distrust and avoid mental health services. Abuses involving misdiagnosed cases, pregnancy, and violations of privacy are a reality. Likewise, the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender plays a role in the nature and ease with which people of color can access mental healthcare. Recently more studies involving black women have shown they are twice as likely as their white counterparts not to contact a mental health provider when experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Does systemic racism affect how people find mental health services?
We live in a society that often values a ‘go, go, go’ mentality, one that puts pace over peace, and this can be exhausting. Our therapists can help you collect your thoughts and offer organized feedback. Culture also shapes how we perceive ourselves and subsequently it imprints upon us questions: Am I worth helping? Shouldn’t I just shake it off? Who is really going to listen? These concerns are all too often dismissed because we are taught to suppress our wants and needs, that emotional analysis is rarely needed, and that we just need to work harder and be more patient. A life-coach or counselor can talk with you about these very specific worries and provide concreate insight to help you move forward and feel like your concerns are indeed valid and worth attention. Our counsellors at Franklin Thriveworks will:
- Listen to your concerns; no thought is too abstract or insignificant
- Discusses goals and methods you can use when you feel depressed or lost
- Combat feeling of uselessness, defeat, fatigue, and anger.
- Put forth a workable plan to move forward that suits your identity and history
What benefits does mental healthcare offer people of color?
Mental well-being is often pushed to the back of our minds and this can cause it to present in unexpected times. Talking with a counselor of color at Franklin Thriveworks will enable you to gain momentum in life and tackle issues that should not be left to grow. Caring for yourself breeds care for others. Our counselors aim to create a safe space where discretion and culturally sensitive care are at the forefront so you can move on with your life and offer your best self to others as well. Together we can break down the barriers people of color face and immerse ourselves in the value of self-care and mental clarity. Make your appointment online and meet with our licensed counselors!