Many studies suggest there is a greater stigma among the African American culture than among white cultures. The myths and shame that surrounds mental health within the African American community forces many people to suffer in silence. Specifically, when it comes to African American women battling with mental illness. “We’ve been told we’re so strong, sometime it can be a blessing and a curse. Because when we feel tired, I’m talking tired emotionally, we have a hard time saying ‘no.’ And we also have this legacy that we can carry the burden and weight of the world on our shoulders. So I think that in terms of coping, I think black women will carry a heavier burden and are less inclined to ask for help and to say, ‘no,’ then white women. If you overload a glass plate or table, it can break. So can we,” said Dr. Janet Taylor, a Community Psychiatrist in New York City, the Bronx and Queens.
[Related: 3 Signs That You May Need to Seek Counseling]
Since May is National Mental Health month we should all take a moment to explore the escalating mental health issues within our community. Whether you’re faced with depression or know of someone else battling mental health issues check out these four books, which provide personal stories about mental health and the treatments or interventions available.
Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting
Author: Terrie Williams
While managing high profile clients like Eddie Murphy and Miles Davis, PR Guru, Terrie Williams, was also dealing with dysthymia, a mild but long-term (chronic) form of depression. “Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting” encourages famous and the ordinary people us to face the truth about the issue that a large percentage of African Americans face daily. It also provides a clear explanation of our troubles and a guide to finding relief through faith, therapy, diet, and exercise, as well as through building a supportive network (and eliminating toxic people).
Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman’s Journey Through Depression
Meri Nana-Ama Danquah
An inspirational and telling memoir about an African-American woman’s lifelong fight to identify and overcome depression. The book provides a rare and insightful testimony about what it means to be black, female, and battling depression in a society that often idealizes black women as strong, nurturing caregivers.
Not Alone: Reflections on Faith and Depression Paperback
Monica A Coleman
In this 40 day devotional, the author shares the struggles she has faced to let readers know they don’t have to suffer in silence. The book also serves as a guide to help readers journey towards faith, personal exploration, self acceptance and strength.
Soothe Your Nerves: The Black Woman’s Guide to Understanding and Overcoming Anxiety, Panic, and Fearz
Ph.D. Angela Neal-Barnett Ph.D.
Dr. Angela Neal-Barnet addresses the “strong black women syndrome” as well as crippling anxiety disorder—women who are always on edge or suffering from bad nerves. This insightful read explains which factors can contribute to anxiety, panic, and fear in Black women and offers a range of healing methods that will help you or a loved one reclaim your life.
Do you know of any books to help women with depression or other mental health issues? Leave me a comment below.