TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - About a quarter of African Americans seek out help for mental health—much less than the 40 percent of whites who do according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI).
May is mental health awareness month, and a local group is hoping to shed light on resources for mental health in the Black community.
Black and African American adults are 20 percent more likely to have serious mental health issues than white adults according to the Office of Minority Health Sunday and event called Black Minds Matter is hoping to give a few resources to this community in a fun, safe environment.
In an effort to show the Black and African American community, there are resources to help and organizers put on the event. Musicians, singers, poets and performers of all kind talked about mental health. Ambur Wilkerson, host of the event, said she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and depression. She said she was lucky to have the opportunity to openly talk about it to her parents. With Black Minds Matter, she wants to give others that same opportunity.
“While everyone is affected by mental health, everyone’s experience is different especially the black community,” said Wilkerson. “There are factors such as racism and socioeconomic status that contribute to mental health in the black community, and just the fact that within it there’s this stigma of talking about it. We’re taught to kind of just stay silent about it, pray about it, sweep it under the rug, and while I believe in the power of prayer, I know there are other things as well that we could be doing.”
The NAMI says African Americans are more likely to be misdiagnosed at health providers and tend to rely more on religion.
If you or a loved one is in crisis, please call the community crisis hotline, at (520) 622-6000 or 1 (866) 495-6735.