If You Don’t Know, Now You Know: Mental Health Stigma in the Black Community | The Daily Show


There are few groups
who could stand to benefit from therapy
more than black people. I mean, think about
all the things black people have been through– slavery, segregation, winter, all equally
traumatic experiences. But unfortunately, even as therapy has become
more mainstream, the black community
has had a tough time getting the help that they need. WOMAN: It’s hard enough
to get mental health treatment in the U.S., but studies show that racial
and ethnic minorities are significantly less likely to receive mental health
treatment than whites. WOMAN 2: Black and Hispanic
children are less likely to get mental health care
than white kids. And studies show
that irritability in the average white teenager
is often labeled as depression. That same behavior is more
likely to be seen as disruptive in black or Latino children,
and doctors say that can lead
to feelings of hopelessness at a very young age. Yes, one of the reasons many black people
don’t get the proper treatment is misdiagnosis. What is seen as depression
in white people can be seen as disruptive behavior
in black people. And this shouldn’t be
surprising, right? This kind of thing happens
in medicine all the time. Missed diagnoses. It’s like, when a black person
has a seizure, it’s a medical emergency, but when a white person does it,
it’s called dancing. (laughter) But it turns out… -It turns out…
-(applause) …even when black people
are properly diagnosed with mental health issues,
it can still be a challenge to find a therapist who’s
equipped to handle their needs. WOMAN:
Making the crisis worse– not enough
African-American therapists. Today, only four percent
of psychologists are black. MAN: Kevin Darden says admitting
he needed help was actually easier
than finding it. He saw
three different therapists, but felt that none of them
understood the stress and emotions unique
to black men. WOMAN: When Taraji P. Henson’s
own son Marcell was struggling, she found it nearly impossible
to find him one. Trying to find
a culturally-competent therapist was like looking
for a purple unicorn with a gold horn. WOMAN 2:
Do they understand the cultural context from which
I’m coming from? Do they understand the culture that I live in? That’s right.
It’s extremely difficult for black people
to find a black therapist. And it’s been like this
for a very, very long time. I mean, that’s why
Martin Luther King, Jr. was always describing his dreams
to huge crowds. You know, it’s just like,
“I had another dream “that I’m being chased by bears
in my underwear! Does anyone here know
what that means?” (laughter) Now… now you may think… You may think that a therapist’s
race shouldn’t matter at all, and that’s true,
but if you think about it, it does make sense. For many white therapists,
no matter how good they are, it can be hard to understand
the particular experiences of a black person, you know? Just sitting there in a session,
even if they are trying, it could be like, “So you say
people are following you “around the store, “and you’re invisible,
but only to taxi drivers? Hmm. Paranoid delusions.” So when it comes
to mental health, there’s a very real struggle for black people
to access health care, get diagnosed correctly, and find a therapist
who can relate to them. But if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s another major hurdle
stopping black people from getting therapy, and it comes
from the black community itself. We have a stigma
in the black community when it comes
to dealing with mental health. WOMAN: Black students say,
where they come from, it’s shameful to talk about
anxiety, depression and trauma. MAN: It’s not okay to have
mental health issues, or, like, that’s a white people thing. I’ve-I’ve heard all the time.
Black men don’t go to therapy. They go to the barbershop. I told my own mother
that I was seeing a therapist, and she said, “You don’t need
to see a therapist. What you need
to do is see a preacher.” -You got Jesus.
-MAN: Right. -You don’t need anything else.
-Right. You know, just buck it up. Ah, yeah. That’s a line every black person
knows all too well. “You don’t need therapy.
You need Jesus!” And my response is always,
“Why can’t we use both?” Because church is
a great place for community, but therapy is great for
one-on-one mental health needs. I mean,
I bet Jesus himself wished he could have gone
to therapy at times, you know? Just be like,
“So, my best friend betrayed me, “and I was born
in a freaking barn. “Plus, my birthday always falls
on Christmas, “so I only get one set
of presents. It’s so shitty!” So, yes, part of the problem,
part of the problem is that there’s a major stigma in the black community
around therapy. And honestly, I can understand why many black people
would rather deal with problems at church. It’s a familiar place for us,
right? You trust the people there,
and it’s also a fun atmosphere. Like, therapy doesn’t seem fun. Church is-is cool.
I get it. In fact,
that’s what I was thinking. Maybe… maybe that’s one way we could try and help solve
this therapy crisis. We need to make therapy a little
bit more like black church, and I think
it would be pretty dope. I don’t know,
it’s just really hard for me to let people in. And I feel like it’s
probably because every time I show affection,
it just feels like weakness. Mm-hmm. Did y’all hear that? Did y’all hear what Brother
Jaboukie just said right here? Brother Jaboukie says
that he can’t show affection, because it feels like weakness. But before we can understand
what hurt us, you got to understand
who hurt us. Who hurt you, Brother Jaboukie? Hmm. Whoa. Wow. I-I would probably say my…
my father. ‘Cause he was
really emotionally distant. But, then, so was his father. Which is probably
where he got it from. The sins of the father… -passed down…
-(plays chord on organ) from generation to generation. And what will break this cycle? Other than a reflective analysis of the ego’s hold
on your psyche. I need to self-actualize. -You need to what?
-Self-actualize. Self-actualize! -Self-actualize.
-Self-actualize! ♪ Self-actualize,
self-actualize ♪ ♪ Self-actualize ♪ He’s gonna empower himself! ♪ Overcome his demons ♪ Deal with
his forgotten memories! ♪ Repression ♪ Confront his dysfunctional
avoidance of intimacy! ♪ He didn’t go to prom ♪ ♪ He didn’t go to prom,
he didn’t go to prom ♪ ♪ He didn’t go to prom. ♪ Look, uh, we’re out of time. We can now pick this up
next week. Right. Thank you so much. I’ve just been
going through a lot, -and it was really helpful
to talk… -(clearing throat) Sorry. Uh, it should actually
be covered. I have Blue Cross. Son, the only cross
in my network is Jesus. (organ playing)

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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