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We Need More Black Mental Health Pros

The benefit to having a Black therapist is that oftentimes they can relate to the Black experience better and provide an increased feeling of security between a therapist and their client.

As I prepare to begin the next chapter of my life, I feel a bit more at ease knowing that I’m equipped with a desire for my future.  I’m pursuing college to earn my degree in psychology, go back to school, and graduate as a licensed psychiatrist and/or psychologist.  In a way, I suppose you could say this is a personal goal as well.  It took a lot of help from my support system, doctors, and belief in myself to get me to a point where I can confidently say my mind is the healthiest it’s ever been.  While I am incredibly thankful for the support I received, it felt as if no one truly believed I was unhealthy no matter how much I cried out for help until I was sitting in a therapist’s office.  I’m sick and tired of the stigma around mental health and wellness.  It’s unfathomable just how many people don’t know all the tools they can utilize to improve their mental wellness, and/or that there are even any options for them at all.  Furthermore, these issues seem to be multiplied ten-fold in African Americans.

The increase of psychological disorders and concerns in African Americans is due to lack of access to sufficient mental health care in Black communities.  Situations we face such as economic problems, racism, criminal injustice, and prejudice are just more reasons to have these opportunities available to our people. According to the website Insight into Diversity, the number of Blacks in the mental health care profession are low.  In the United States, 4.7% of psychologists and about 2% of psychiatrists are Black.  Comparatively, 79% of psychologists and 64.3% of psychiatrists are white.  I wish to see a change.

Although I know it will be a long, tedious road, I want to try to put myself in a position where I can help those that are suffering overcome their mental instability to the best of my ability, just as someone once did for me.  Now this is definitely easier said than done, but I know I have the drive to make it happen.  Of course, my dream begins in the classroom.  To me, knowing and pursuing my goals and values is what will define my successful college experience.

 

By Gabrielle Bolton, Freshman, Howard University

Instagram: @missxxbolton

 

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Written by Gabrielle Bolton

Hi! My name is Gabrielle Bolton and I attend Howard University. I am beyond grateful to have been given a platform to share my voice with you all, and I hope you enjoy my work! ❤️

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