Black Parents, Stop Discouraging Your Children From Seeking Therapy
Before I delve into a struggle of being a millenial black child, let me first say that black parents are absolutely miraculous. This piece in no way discredits you from being the strong, influential and trailblazing individuals that you are and have raised your children to be.
But there's always room for improvement.
While there are so many varying experiences you have growing up as a black child and throughout your whole life, the taboo about therapy, is something that greatly impacts adulthood. Now, this mindset isn't something the black community had an overnight meeting about and decided to to chase out of the neighborhood with their pitchforks. Predominantly, the history of black people in America has a significant affect on the way they interpret and sadly, reject therapy.
To crack open the history book a little(the uncensored one), there was a time when black people weren't even considered a full person. Yes, let that soak in for a minute. With that in mind, religion was heavily practiced as an escape and cure for all of the unjust and evil experiences black people had to endure because they were subhuman to their white counterparts.
That grasp on religion has carried over for centuries now and while there's nothing wrong with that, it often overshadows other, clinically proven aids to more abstract issues. Black parents, you or your children may not of had to experience society, functioning as fraction of a person, but other mental ailments can surely have a person feeling like they're so little or nothing at all. The mind is a terrible thing to waste...away.
Don't misinterpret our want for other forms of help, as us being ungrateful to how tightly you clasp your hands to pray for us every night. But if we think we need more, why repel it? You want to pray for us and we are incredibly here for it, but some times, it's not enough to fully repair what our minds are going through. We get it, our skin has never really had the privilege to convey "weakness" and somehow things like depression and anxiety have been falsely categorized as being weak.
Let me break it down like this. You wouldn't let your child break a bone and simply pray that it gets better. You take them to see a doctor. A break or fracture in the mind may need the same thing. But unlike bones, it doesn't just take a few months in a cast to cure a broken or struggling mind. There's no X-ray to see where the real damage is.
Many black parents didn't have that luxury of admitting that something beyond a scrape or bruise was hurting and affecting their everyday life. For black women specifically, Zora Neale Hurston was incredibly accurate when she referred to them as "the mules of the world". They carry and carry without questioning how heavy the load is or how much further they have to go.
Black parents, your children understand that you had to be strong enough for the entire family. And as much as we hate asking you for anything, we don't necessarily need your strength when we tell you that we want to talk to a professional...we simply want you to understand.