Observing Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- National minority mental health awareness month is observed each July to cast a light on the unique struggles racial and ethnic minority communities face with mental health issues.

“This month is particularly designed to bring awareness and acknowledge issues concerning mental health and substance abuse disorders that lie within minority communities. Especially black, indigenous, and people of color,” said Shareka Jefferson, the Noxubee County administrator.

She says racial minority groups usually experience higher levels of anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies, and post-traumatic stress disorder, “When it comes to the black communities for some particular reason there’s a cultural stigma there that mental illness or mental health is a problem or that we should be able to endure those things. There have been several years of trauma that have caused us to not be able to overcome those things fortunately we have overcome many things but there’s still that psychological point or aspect that has not been addressed that we must always find time to address,”

People sometimes find the courage and comfort to discuss their feelings in unlikely spaces.

Bobby Jordan’s been a barber in the friendly city for more than 20 years, “most of my clients come in and wanna talk about what they’re going through. They wanna express how they feel. so, this is a good place to relieve pressure.”

He says since he set up shop important life topics have been up for discussion, “most people feel confused hopeless and they wonder what’s going on because we’re in a different world. years ago they used to call the barbershop the black man’s country club because he feels like he can be free to say what he wants without any judgment. The barber’s part of the family so they’re going to express to the barber how they feel,”

Jefferson says getting the conversation started is key for all groups and locating mental health services.

“Every community should have a community health center. that was made possible for everyone in the communities to have some form of access to health services. So, it’s very important to seek those individuals, find out where they are located, and reach out to someone so that you can get the proper care that you need, we are not our elements. We have to be comfortable talking about how many challenges have impacted so many people on this earth not just a specific culture or a specific socioeconomic status but everyone has been impacted,”

For more information on mental health services in your area, visit communitycounselingservices.com

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