Blacks‘ Mental Health
(Though this is a reprint of an article first published in 2010 on Black American Web it is just as relevant today; if not more so.)
Note: The term African-American is used in this article it is the term the writer used. When speaking of my people I refer to us as Black.
At 19, Lydia Caesar, a preacher’s daughter, was depressed. She was young, unmarried and pregnant. She didn’t know who to talk with or what to do. “Depression is unheard of in the church. You can’t be saved. You can’t love the Lord and be depressed. That’s the stigma. And so many people in church are suffering.
Almost half of the African-Americans who need help with mental health issues don’t get it. “Blacks typically don’t seek help for mental illness because they don’t have familiarity with the process” according to Terrie Williams, founder of Stay Strong Foundation and author of “Black Pain.” We want to reach them while they are young,” Williams said.
“We think it’s a sign of weakness. We been raised not to tell our business, and we’re faith based. We think that to do anything other than pray about it is blasphemy. “So many are silent, but they are literally dying inside. “Mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are widespread in the U.S. and often misunderstood.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2008, there were an estimated 9.8 million adults aged 18 or older living with serious mental illness. Among adults, the prevalence of serious mental illness is highest in the 18 to 25 age group, yet this age group is also the least likely to receive services or counseling.
In 2008, 6 percent of African-Americans ages 18 to 25 had serious mental illness in the past year. Overall, only 58.7 percent of Americans with serious mental illness received care within the past 12 months, and the percentage of African-Americans receiving services is only 44.8 percent. “The disparities that African-Americans experience in accessing mental health care can be overcome through increased awareness and education,” said Kathryn A. Power, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. “Raising the African-American community’s understanding and attention to these issues will provide greater opportunities for recovery from mental health problems.”
Caesar, now 25, said she shut down during her depression. “I felt that I had let the church down. And that’s not a burden that any young person should have to carry at all. But I carried it. Alone. Alone, please, alone,” she said. “Once I reached out to my sister, it got a little better. Once I told my mother, it got a little better.”
Susan L. Taylor, founder of the National Cares Mentoring Movement and editor-in-chief emeritus of Essence magazine, knows what it’s like not to talk about depression. Taylor said her sadness and depression grew out of a hormonal shift through menopause and giving herself to a career before taking care of her own needs.
“I would leap out of the bed into the newspapers, into manuscripts, not gonna skip a beat for Essence. Everything for Essence. Me? I’m not even on the schedule,” Taylor said in her video. “I think that being able to talk about it is so liberating. Hiding sadness makes you more and more sad because it closes you off, you know. It closes you off from your healing. Giving voice to what you are feeling is part of the healing,” Taylor said.
Taylor’s personal story is also one of several included at samhsa.gov, a part of the campaign created pro bono by Grey Worldwide through the Ad Council. The campaign aims to promote acceptance of mental health problems within the African-American community by encouraging, educating and inspiring young adults to step up and talk openly about mental health problems.
Williams of Stay Strong Foundation says it is her personal mission to educate everyone, especially African-Americans, about depression and its impact on communities. “Every day, so many of us wear the mask of wellness that hides our pain from the world,” Williams said. “Now is the time to identify and name our pain, minus the myths and the stigmas, and seek the help so many of us need.”
There have been several books and hundreds, if not thousands, of article written about the plane crash that took the lives of Otis Redding, members of the Barkays and of course the pilot. And there has been a consistent misunderstanding of exactly where the plane crashed. It is widely known that it was in Lake Monona. The confusion is, where is Lake Monona. No, it is not outside of Madison. Lake Monona is in Madison, Wisconsin and is one of four other lakes that call Madison home; I do as well. Otis’ plane crashed into Squaw Bay of the lake. So enjoy this little slide show of, what else, Lake Monona. It is short, but impressive. The Otis Redding Memorial is on the roof garden of the Monona Terrace Convention Center that is on the shore of Lake Monona. Oh, and just for the record, I live near Lake Mendota, the largest of our lakes.
Otis Redding Memorial
The Day That Soul Cried
December 10, 1967 The day that soul cried, a chilly mist hung over Madison, Wisconsin. Fans of Rhythm and Blues anticipated a thrilling visitor that Sunday night. Singer Otis Redding was scheduled for two shows at the Factory. Three days earlier, Otis had finished recording “Dock of the Bay,” a moody song that would later be his only No. 1 hit on the pop charts.Otis was accompanied by the Bar-Kays, fresh-faced high school graduates from Memphis. Otis (The Big O) had performed the night before in Cleveland. He, the Bar-Kays, his valet and pilot were flying to Madison in his private twin-engine Beechcraft. They were scheduled to perform at 6:30 and 9 p.m. But they never made it. The plane fell three miles short of the runway and crashed at 3:28 p.m. in the near-freezing waters of Lake Monona.
The sole survivor, trumpet-player Ben Cauley, was pulled from the water 17 minutes after stunned witnesses along the eastern shore of Squaw Bay telephoned for help.On November 8, 1987 members of the Otis Redding Memorial Group, a Madison, Wisconsin nonprofit corporation, culminated their fund-raising drive with the dedication of a memorial to Otis Redding on the shore of Lake Monona. The memorial consists of three semicircle marble benches, custom carved in Portugal with the initials, O.R. incorporated in the legs, Georgia gray granite marker and a bronze plague. The memorial was temporarily moved to storage to make way for the construction of the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Monona Terrace Convention Center. A re-dedication ceremony was held August 15, 1997 on the Roof Garden of the Convention Center, where the memorial is now located.
James R. Yarbrough
President and Founding Member
Otis Redding Memorial Group
The picture speaks for itself; there is not a great deal that I can add. The record and my survey tell it all. When it comes to online dating, Blacks are not the chosen ones. The top pick, so to speak. I am going to tell you this, please take all that I have posted to heart. It is the way that it is. But should you care, yes. It is a good time to pause and consider why this might be. Do not let your thought, now, whatever it is, slip away before having a good think. Because, after all, it is how you think. Keep that in mind, how can you not. One last thing, there is an image problem and I am not talking about how you look. It is how some act more so than anything else. After all, you, I and the rest can only be known by how we act. No one can know what is on your mind. All of this causes me much anguish. It is not good when you are last to be chosen, if at all. Even by your own kind.