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Breaking the Stigma! Let’s talk about the mental health of Black Children and Adolescents

Welcome to the final blog post of our Black History Month Wellness Series for 2022.

When I heard the news concerning the suicide of Cheslie Kryst, attorney, television correspondent, and former Miss USA, I was left speechless like many of you. Suicide rates amongst people of color are skyrocketing. And for every story that makes national headlines, ten more don't.

I understand that many of my listeners are parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles dealing with children, adolescents, and young adults living with mental health concerns..

My goal with this final episode of the series was to start a conversation that encourages solutions to propel us out of hiding, shame, and guilt.

In this blog post, I am sharing four ways to break the stigma surrounding mental health in children.

Representation In The Media

The National Health Institute reports that 1 and 3 adolescents will experience anxiety disorders. In addition, studies have found high rates of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and suicide for black children and youth. With so many children and adolescents impacted by mental health issues, adults can help break mental health stigmas by exposing their children to age-appropriate books, movies, etc.

These stories shed light on mental health challenges and offer positive and realistic outcomes. In the show notes for this series, I have included books that adults can use to create dialogue around these sensitive subjects.

The Power Of Influencers

In 2019, research concluded that social media negatively impacted adolescent's mental health. The article discussed various ways that social media leads to depressive moods, low self-esteem, and poor body images. We cannot deny the power and reach of influencer marketing - which is one of the reasons that I created this podcast as a resource to break the stigma. I implore influencers with larger audiences to do the same. If you have a social media account or work with children and their families, I encourage you to share this podcast and to start conversations about Mental Health on your Platforms. . Together we can do our part to end stigmas surrounding mental health in children.

Black Mental Health Professionals

When I begin working with families and their children, I hear how happy they are to have a professional they can relate to—professionals with a shared cultural experience as the community they serve help make seeking therapy easier.

We can start to build a community of professionals we trust by encouraging our children to enter the profession of mental health. . There are many ways to enter the field of mental health, and the education requirements vary. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more, please email me; I'm happy to share what I know.

Treatment Assessability And Open Dialogue

Conversations are healing -yet I know that when children are diagnosed with mental health disorders such as ADHD, anxiety, etc., parents frequently tell me that they want to keep the child's diagnosis a secret. They fear that family and friends will judge their child and their parenting. The stigma that mental illness results from lousy parenting or evil forces at play is another reason millions of children and families suffer in silence- refusing to seek support. Also, parents and a supportive community act as advocates for children.

Sitting down with school officials, grandparents, and anyone else who will come into contact with your child is the first step to creating an environment that your child can thrive in so that they can go on to live enriched lives and have success stories.

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