BIPOC Mental Health Month

Monday, July 4, 2022

July is BIPOC Mental Health Month. For three main reasons, it is essential to look at mental health from the lenses of minorities.

1) BIPOCs are more likely to lack access to mental health care or have the resources to pay for or travel for mental health aid. There are also fewer mental health professionals of color, making some aspects of mental health ( like racism and culture) hard to explain and overlook. 

2) BIPOCs are more likely to go underdiagnosed for some mental illnesses and overdiagnosed for others. Minorities are also more likely to have to advocate for their mental health as healthcare professionals may be working from a place of prejudice, stereotypes, bias, or racism.

3) Most of the research used to support treatment types and diagnoses is based on research of middle-class white populations. While some research has attempted to target people of color, the research uses tools not always proven to work for minority groups.

"You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." — Buddha

My Experience

My experience has been that I have to advocate for my mental health. With all doctors (primary) but one (he was black), I have argued about having anxiety and migraines due to school. I was met with disbelief and told to take another medication. It was frustrating. When I sought out a mental health professional, I was diagnosed with three learning disorders and ADHD, both of which can contribute to migraines. 

I also went undiagnosed with depression until I was suicidal. One reason I feel this happened is that a lot of the symptoms of depression did not apply to me. I now worry this is the case for many BIPOCs.

Lastly, as a Ph.D. student, I see why so many minorities do not finish their degree; the field is riddled with racism and prejudice. It has boiled by skin that the effects of the Hollicost have been studied, but the trauma of slavery, jim crow, and genocide (of Indigiounes) seem to go understudied. It does not allow for healing for all. 

To end on a bright note, the APA has mentioned increased minority psychologies, has denounced the idea that white is inherently superior, and the APA is attempting to address the racism built into psychology. 

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