health

Mental Health and African-Americans


It’s all too common in the black community to ignore some of the vast, varied and most debilitating issues that cripple our families, neighborhoods and communities. As much as some black people want to ignore certain problems like poverty, violence, drug abuse and mental illness, they continue to persist. That’s why it’s vitally important for us to talk about these problems and make positive changes that will affect positive outcomes.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has released A Family Guide to Mental Health: What You Need to Know, oriented especially to African-American families affected by serious medical illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. While many would like to sweep mental illness under the rug, unless dealt with and treated it only gets worse for individuals and families.

A personal story: My brother-in-law has mild schizophrenia and before he was treated with some of the latest drugs, he was a nusence to the family and was so “crazy” we couldn’t be around him. However, thanks to regular treatment and state mental health resources he can now hold a job, come around and visit family, and lead a normal life. He sought help and he and our family are better for it.

Mental illness affects most of us. If it’s affecting you or your family, visit http://www.nami.org/mac/familyguide for help.

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