Intentional Living – Mental Health and Covid-19 for Black Americans

Intentional Living

Between the Coronavirus pandemic and recent police brutality cases, many Black Americans say they’re struggling emotionally. In this week’s Intentional Living we take a look at the toll these trying times are taking on mental health and where people can turn for help.

Kelli Evans is quick to share how much she’s gained in her time in therapy stating, “one of the best things that my therapist helped me through all of this is that your feelings are valid.”

Between Covid-19’s disproportionate impact on blacks and police brutality outrage, the last few months have brought significant challenges for Black Americans. Kelli explains, “Some people have never experienced this, even though we are black people. These are things that are open in all of our eyes and some of us don’t know how to deal with it.”

A census bureau survey finds anxiety and depression spiked for Black Americans after the police killing of George Floyd. With 41% reporting significant signs of mental health concerns. Licensed Psychologist Dr. Joy Harden Bradford says getting help is critical but in the black community there’s still a stigma to overcome. “Lots of us come from families where it wasn’t ok to talk with a therapist. So we don’t really understand what happens when you meet with a therapist. So i think there’s still this dirty little secret , so to speak, um, about reaching out for help, says Dr. Harden Bradford.

Dr. Harden Bradford is the host of a popular podcast that focuses on making mental health resources more accessible to black women. She says the cost of therapy and a shortage of black therapists are also barriers, “When we think about the number of psychologists that are black, it is less than 5%. So if you are looking for a psychologist to work with, even if every black person wanted a black psychologist, there would not be enough of us to go around.”

Kelli sees a black therapist and hopes others will find help if they need it, “You need to go to the gym. You need to go to the doctor. You need to make sure that your mental health is intact as well.” She says it’s more important now than ever during these challenging times.

Many foundations are providing free therapy sessions to those in need right now. Dr. Harden Bradford also encourages people to try to find a therapist through their insurance provider.

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