There is no secret that the African American community still suffers from physical and mental enslavement around the United States. African Americans are 20% more likely to experience mental health problems than the general population, including all other minorities as well. That is a big significant difference when talking percentages. But how is this possible?
You have to look at what factors might have an influence on mental health, such as violence, homelessness, poverty, family conflict, and financial problems. These are all common traits witnessed and experienced in communities where mental health illness is most present.
Because mental illness can be hereditary, I can also include factors from past generations, during the times of the Civil Rights movement, the War on Drugs, or the New Jim Crow. I name these moments of the past because they are all systematic approaches made by the U.S. Government that affected African American homes, families, and communities. Because our youth is the future, it only makes sense that if multiple adolescents come from an unstable home then it is likely that the negative mental effects can carry over to in public.
I mean how can you ask anyone to describe what they just saw at a crime scene but not ask them if they need to talk to anyone for their own health? I also can’t ignore the fact that ex-convicts were incarcerated with no one to give them psychological evaluations before being released. More than half of all inmates in state prisons suffer from with mental health issues. At least 55 percent of males and 73 percent of females in state prisons are suffering from mental health issues.
It is also more common for ex-convicts with a mental illness to reoffend than ex-convicts without a mental health issue. After being released from prison, they are limited to where they can work and live due to their criminal records so they are forced to live in low-income areas that are predominantly black . This is not including people who have never been to a jailhouse but still developed a mental illness.
So the real question is why aren't there mass amounts of free mental health clinics in African American communities? If we don’t have the resources then the cycle will continue. Mental illness is a topic that is highly ignored around us and should definitely be more recognized for the impact it has on families.
How can the community be at its best if large amounts of individuals across the country need professional help? The U.S. has the necessary resources to get this done. The cycle MUST be broken!
Sir Tyson is on twitter at @Sir_Tyson