If you belong to the Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIOPC) community and suffer from poor mental health, you’re not alone. In the United States, there are over 15 million indigenous people and people of color that report struggling with mental health issues. Sadly, these people often face roadblocks to seeking the help they need.
1. It’s Seen as a Stigma
Very often people in the BIOPC community stop themselves from getting the help they need because there is a cultural or social stigma within their group. As an example, in some BIOPC communities, seeking treatment is a sign that you are “crazy” and in other cases “weak.”
2. A Lack of Access to the Right Treatment
Oftentimes, people within the BIOPC community do not speak English. Unless you live in a large, urban area where other languages may be spoken by practicing clinicians, it can be challenging finding a provider who will speak your language. And, according to the American Psychological Association, 86% of psychologists in the U.S. are White. This means it can be challenging to find a provider who understands your culture and background and the specific challenges you face.
If you cannot find a provider in your area that is of the same race, it is recommended that you ask prospective mental health providers about their training and background to get a sense of whether you’d feel comfortable working with them or not. You can ask things like:
- Have they had any cultural competence training?
- Do they have experience treating people from your specific cultural background?
- Do they respect and include BIOPC clients’ values and cultural beliefs into the treatment plan?
3. A Lack of Available Resources
People within the BIOPC community often have a lack of access to proper resources where they can even learn about mental health and what they may be experiencing. The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) is a great resource to take advantage of and to share with other members of your community.
If you are suffering from a mental health issue such as depression, PTSD or anxiety and would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me. I have had cultural competence training and always make it a point to incorporate my BIOPC clients’ values and culture into our treatment plan.