Protecting our Mental Health

Had a conversation with a colleague yesterday and the subject of how the black community deals with mental health issues surfaced. We were discussing how traumatic experiences from childhood or years gone by are repressed only to cause very complex problems in the years to come. I stated that we as a people have to stop looking only to the church for answers, because the routine response to many of these issues in our community is “Chile, don’t you fret. Just put in the Lord’s hands He’ll take care.”

While I strongly believe that we tend to fret about a lot of things that we shouldn’t and often times one must “Let go and Let God”, but when tragedies such as incest, molestation and traumatic deaths occur it is sometimes necessary to rely on the mental health professionals that God gave the ability to help work through these issues.

This topic has been swirling through my mind for a number of weeks because I am working on a story that deals with Mental Health, as well as the apparent increase in commentary on Bi-Polar Disorder, Manic Depression etc. Over the last couple of years it appears to me that these mental health issues have been attributed to many violent crimes. This may not be a new phenomenon, but I believe it is growing in acceptance to openly discuss bi-polar disorder for instance as the reason “Aunt Mary sometimes sits in her house for days on end without responding to the knock at the door.”

So I was pleased to read that Cleveland activist Art McKoy plans to help spread the word about depression and suicide in the black community. It is unfortunate that he has had to deal with the pain of loosing his daughter to suicide, but to see that he will attempt to bring something positive out of his own personal tragedy is to be commended.

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