Mental Illness And The Black Community

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Conversations regarding mental health can often be a difficult topic to discuss openly. The Huffington Post provided readers with the opportunity to understand mental illness and intersectionality in the article, 4 Black Women Writers Get Honest About Mental Illness and Race. This article provides a different perspective on mental health as it looks at mental illness through the intersectionality of race and gender. In the article, four black women participate in an interview to discuss their experience with depression, bi-polar disorder, and ADHD and how it affects their lives as both black and woman identified beings. Discussions of mental health in the black community are rare as there is a negative view of mental illness. Hearing…show more content…
To manage mental illness, the women all asserted that as writers, writing on different media outlets was their way of managing mental illness in addition to having a positive and supportive community. Zeba Blay claimed that she felt that her “illness is a burden, and … on some level, isn’t black” (Blay, 2016). Blay feels as if she has to work harder to manage her illness in order to perform “normally”. For biographical work, which is defined as, “coming to terms with what the illness entails for identities and future plans, in response to the biographical disruption caused by chronic illness”, the women proclaim their realization of mental illness as something that shapes their identities (Donovan et al, 2012). Although the women understand their illness as a part of who they are, they often struggle to accept their illness and occasionally perceive it as a “personality flaw” (Blay, 2016). Intersectionality with race and gender is considered in the interview when the women highlight the narrative of the “strong, independent black woman” and how society expects black women to behave (Blay, 2016). The women feel as if they are not allowed to feel melancholy or vulnerable and blame themselves for having an illness they cannot control. Depression, bi-polar disorder, and ADHD have impacted the women’s ability to “function” as they would like and require
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