mental health

Addressing Mental Health in Communities of Color

During this time, we can all work together to recognize and address this mental health challenge

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The need for help in communities of color has grown since this pandemic began. So, many are trying to shine a light calling for the breaking of barriers when it comes to mental health assistance in those communities.     

The pandemic has given many the platform to begin discussing mental wellness because there is a huge stigma no matter what your background is. But different cultures have different ways of approaching mental health.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness wants to help break down cultural barriers when it comes to getting help for those who are hurting right now.

Almost every person involved in the organization is someone who has addressed a mental health issue at some point in their life, and some are at different points of recovery. So, there are a number of support groups for families to help them understand what's happening with their loved one, and how they can help them get critical resources.

We talked to NAMI board member Claudia Smith, and the Executive Director of the organization Dr. Athena Trentin. Smith is Latina, and Trentin is from the American Indian community.

Both say, the first thing that needs to be done to break the barrier, is to break the silence.

Tell someone you need help.

"Whenever your depression or your thoughts start to interfere with your normal life, that's when maybe you need to say something," Smith said.

"I'm the first person who actually, you know, in my family I believe, that has recognized that I have a mental illness. Until I got this job, at NAMI North Texas, I was part of the larger population of people who thought that if you were depressed, if you couldn't make it through a day because you were unmotivated, or you were having a day-long panic attack, then you're weak. And what I've learned since I've had this job is that being depressed and anxious is not a weakness, addressing it, finding help, is the most courageous thing that you can do," said Trentin.  

Trentin says uncertainly creates a massive strain on our mental wellness and this is the time to address it.

There are so many resources available for those who need help. You can remain anonymous. Allow NAMI North Texas to serve as a liaison to get you the help you need, sooner rather than later.

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