Name: Dana Kerns
From: St. Louis, Missouri
The Suffering Ends Here
The Suffering Ends Here
As a Black woman growing up, I never heard anyone talk about sadness or anxiety. Furthermore, I have no recollection of an adult discussing their therapy sessions or anything like that. Church services, several prayer sessions, and church events are all things I recall. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I discovered how the Black community, including my own, looked down on such things and relied solely on God.
Out of the 37 million people who identify as Black or African American, 20% are likely to experience serious mental health issues. Childhood trauma causes our anger which results in us killing, hating, and despising one another. Our men have more PTSD than they have money. Our women are taught at a young age to “just deal with it” that we walk around angry at the world. Yet no one wants to get help for it. WHY? It is due to the village who raised us before, they were taught to pray about it. Now we are in a society screaming “Mental Health is real”, “Get A Therapist” and “Check on Your Strong Friends”. Languages that are powerful yet still foreign to our community.
In 2006, I became completely incapacitated, had to drop out of school, undergo brain surgery, and turn my kid over to my mother and sister. My intellect had become as handicapped as my body by 2013. I sought help from a therapist after becoming afflicted with insomnia. I discovered I had depression and anxiety. Everyone in my family was unaware of my counseling appointments. Those sessions were important in saving my life. Several months passed before I shared my therapy and diagnosis with my family. My grandmother told me “We don’t have depression, we have God.”
That perspective, like my grandmother’s, is why I decided to return to school and pursue a career as a Clinical Psychologist, this time focusing on adult mental health. I choose to break the generational curses as it relates to mental health. I refuse to let my community suffer because of their refusal to change their thinking. I have dealt with mental health issues both personally and most recently in my child. I am grateful for the resources available both times so that good treatment may be offered.
We, the black community, must shed the stigmas that have kept us from overcoming childhood traumas. Carrying all that baggage becomes tiresome after a while. We become depressed because of this. We start losing our sense of self. Dear black community, God had 12 disciples, because He couldn’t handle it all. Get help…and pray for the best therapist