Wanted: Black therapists for black people:

Years ago after giving birth to my son, I was convinced I suffered from a bout of postnatal depression. I was stressed, would cry at the drop of a hat and had no energy for life in general. I approached a doctor to refer me to a therapist when my hair started falling out in clumps.

I patiently and I believe thoroughly explained what I had been going through in the hope that he, (yes it was a male doctor), would refer me to the appropriate therapist and or be able to tell me what was happening to my body. I was particularly concerned about my hair.

I spent approximately forty-five minutes dutifully running through what I had been through. At one stage I mentioned that the oral contraceptive I was using at the time may have contributed towards the feelings of despair and sadness.
He looked at me for a long time and said and I quote; “I am tired of you young mothers, (I was 30 years old when I gave birth to my son) thinking that all you can do is whine about how hard life is and everyone must come rushing to your aid. You are a mother so act like one and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Pull yourself together.” Unquote.

I couldn’t believe that he could treat me like that and dismiss my feelings but most importantly I left without a word and believed him and never sought further help and this is where the problem lies.

Research in the States found that troubled white children were given more opportunities for therapists to assist them with their mental health while black and brown children with similar mental health issues are labelled problematic. Once that label is pasted on them they then go through life undiagnosed and are constantly told to “pull themselves together” as if they have the internal answers to all their troubles. The result is that some of them eventually become what they are labelled as.

Poverty brings about depression as does stress and abusive situations and the “inability” for black and brown people to then be unable to pull themselves together brings on a different set of dilemmas that require professional intervention.

We need black therapists for black people.
No, I am not being prejudiced but I have been observing and reading and don’t like what I have read or have heard. Black and brown people present problems unique to the environment and community within which they live.

For an example, if a black girl is being relentlessly pursued by boys in the neighbourhood and she is stressed each time she has to pass the group of boys who are harassing her, telling her to simply ignore them is not the correct method of approach to her problem as often ignoring the problem within that environment exacerbates it.

Black and brown children subjected to racism and violence can’t approach a white therapist who can’t possibly comprehend the daily struggles on the psyche of the child.

Help and sympathies are not as forthcoming for the black and brown
child, as it is for the white child experiencing mental health issues and though the parents of the black and brown child may insist their child, gets the help they need, sending them to a therapist who hasn’t been part of their community and or schooled themselves with the unique challenges these children face may do more harm than good as I have demonstrated in my case above.

It would seem that we have a lack in areas that may adversely affect black and brown children as adults.

It’s never been a mind over matter but rather a matter that needs minding.