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What Black History Month Means for Mental Health

Each year during the month of February, we recognize and celebrate Black History Month. This is an important time to acknowledge the role African Americans have played in the United States throughout history (and present) and to recognize and celebrate their achievements. But how does this relate to mental health? Keep reading to learn more.

Black History & Mental Health

Historical adversity such as slavery and exclusion from basic rights like healthcare, education, and other resources - translates into socio-economic disparities experienced by African Americans today. 

As we all know, mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race or background, however, background and identity can make access to mental health treatment much more difficult. Ongoing stigma and lack of access to health care are barriers for anyone with a mental health condition, but experts argue there is a particular disparity when it comes to minorities, especially African Americans, which can contribute to individuals not receiving proper support or treatment to feel better.

The Statistics

Working to End the Stigma and Break Down Barriers

Black History Month is a celebration of all African Americans, however, every month of the year we should be working to break down barriers for all minorities. African Americans should have proper access to mental health and substance abuse resources and care - regardless of socioeconomic status. It starts with us – from the bottom up - by building awareness of the disparities within the black community and by doing our part to advocate for equal rights and creating real change within ourselves and in our communities.

Paving the Way Throughout History

These notable black figures plus many more, have paved the way for people of color to receive adequate health care:

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

If you are worried that you or a loved one may be struggling with a mental health condition, there is hope. Please contact us at 763-559-1640 or email to find out how to seek help.

Excerpts and data used from, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association

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