Skip to Main Content

African-American/Black Identity & Mental Health

Many discussions of mental health in the African-American/Black community begin with the lasting impact of slavery and the continued oppression the community faces.

Black/African-American individuals are frequently the targets of racism, experiences which increase their mental health distress while limiting their access to resources necessary for treatment.

Mental health professionals also struggle to provide relevant treatment to members of this community due to inadequate training in cross-cultural competency, a short-fall which can result in experiences of racism and macroaggressions from one’s therapist. This is one reason many in the African-American/Black community are hesitant to seek professional treatment, along with the stigma that is attached mental illness.

These and other relevant factors, including coping mechanisms and the intersection of the African-American/Black identity with gender and sexual orientation, are explored in the resources and articles below:

  • The Safe Place: an app, available on both iOS and Google Play, which offers resources about mental health in the Black community with the intention of educating and raising awareness. These resources include statistics, information on mental illnesses, self-care tips (including in particularly stressful situations, such as in the aftermath of police brutality), and podcasts like Extraordinary Negroes.
  • I Gotchu: Mental Health, Your Friend, And You: Recommendations from the Black Women’s Health Imperative on the best ways to support someone close to you who is experiencing psychological distress.
  • Getsomejoy: “a year-long multimedia campaign to promote mental and emotional wellness among Black & Brown folks through fellowship opportunities, dynamic live events, powerful written and video content, wellness resources and education, and engagement through storytelling and therapeutic creative expression. Listen. Love. Live.”
  • Therapy for Black Girls: An online space where Black women and girls can access mental health resources that are relevant to their experiences without experiencing the stigma that is often associated with these topics. Resources include virtual therapy sessions, a directory of local Black women therapists, and a podcast that explores topics like LGBTQ Affirmative Spaces in Black mental health
  • Ourselves Black: A collection of stories, images, and narratives that explore and destigmatize the Black experience of mental health with the intention of empowering the Black community. Topics include resources for parents of Black children with mental illness and an examination of the mental health struggles of Black college students.
  • Racism and the Invisible Struggle of Mental Health in the Black Community: An article that explores the roles racism and a history of oppression play in the prevalence and stigmatization of mental illness within the Black community.
  • #YouGoodMan: An article and social media hashtag with the intention of promoting openness about the mental health struggles Black men and boys face.
  • Rest for Resistance: a space for people of color in the LGBTQ community to find healing and support for their mental well-being.