Why You Should Embrace Seeing A Therapist
By Teeara Ida
I grew up in a household that didn't acknowledge mental health. I never understood the importance of mental health because anything that affected me emotionally, I was either told to pray about or to view as something preparing me to be a stronger woman. According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health,“African Americans are 20 percent more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population.” There is a negative stigma about mental health in the Black community that tells us that we should keep our business in the family and keep the emotions we may be experiencing inside. Truth be told, discussing problems that go on in the household with others can be a violation in Black families.
The health care system hasn’t given many Black woman a reason to trust them, let alone the possibility of speaking with a therapist who meets our needs. People are not comfortable speaking on this topic and a major part of this discomfort stems from not feeling understood and not seeing Black therapists in the field. Growing up in an urban community, I wouldn't know where to start or look when it came to scheduling an appointment with a Black therapist, especially because seeking help is so dependent on location and money. My family fought for government assistance so we could receive our normal doctor check-ups, dentist visits, food, and a roof over our head. Anything outside of that, my mom didn't feel was a family priority.
While it is common to treat our issues with prayer and place faith in a higher power to take away the pain, this is not the only solution. These forms of repression have created a lack of knowledge and many may not recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness. This can lead to issues regarding our mental health being overlooked and more as a sign of weakness rather than a serious illness. But the more we speak about mental health in the Black community, the more it will become normalized. Here are some of the benefits you can gain when speaking with a therapist:
You will resolve your personal issues with guidance and without judgment
Talking to someone who is isolated from your life can help you understand the root of your emotions. You are given the opportunity to analyze your problems from an outside perspective without any judgment. This will allow you to relieve any stress that you may be carrying that you no longer or never could discuss with family or friends. Speaking with a professional therapist allows you to overcome any emotional challenges that hinder you from making positive decisions in your life.
You will make sense of past traumatic experiences
There is no easy path in life and sometimes we experience many different struggles that can be traumatic. This can cause us to carry those emotions for years. Trauma can affect your mental health causing fear, anxiety, and anger. A professional therapist can help you sort out your emotions while helping to dig to the root of the problem. We may not understand the intensity of the illness we’re experiencing and seeing a therapist can help you cope with your issues without erasing the trauma. This will help you to fix any broken pieces while rebuilding the life you envisioned.
You will overcome your fears and insecurities
Insecurity and fear can have a major impact on your lifestyle if you allow it. As we reach different phases of our lifestyle such as new jobs, relationships, babies, etc this can be a bit scary, causing uncertainty. Talking to a professional will allow you to identify your strengths while focusing on the positives you can apply to your lifestyle. Sometimes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to have it all together not realizing how much we have accomplished thus far. A therapist is available to help reassure you of the things your capable of achieving.