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Guest Contributor:

Dr. LaNail R. Plummer

Faculty, Johns Hopkins University

Co-founder & Owner EMC2 Mental Health Counseling and

Educational Consulting

African Americans are 20% more likely to experience mental health illness. However, the widespread cultural stigma of mental illness prevents us from seeking treatment. Research suggests that within their social circles, depression or anxiety are dismissed as “crazy”. African American men are especially resistant to being labeled with a mental health diagnosis.

Unfortunately, by neglecting their mental health needs, they become more vulnerable to drug and/or alcohol abuse, homelessness, incarceration, homicide, and suicide. As such, Black women end up baring the sole responsibility of raising and supporting their families leaving them to struggle in silence if also afflicted by mental illness. When mental health illness goes untreated in our communities, the domino effect extends all the way down to our children. It has been documented that over 25% of African American youth who are exposed to violence are at a high risk for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Pay attention to your emotions

Automatic” emotions may perpetuate behavioral patterns that adversely affect your mental health. Oftentimes, an individual believes he/she is experiencing anger; however, with a deeper and insightful dive into emotional banks, one can explore, identify, and acknowledge the root emotion. Once the clear emotion is identified, a clearer course of action and behavioral shift can occur. In short: Ask yourself, what is under the anger.

Ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen?