From Frugivore Magazine — Suffering in silence is not an unfamiliar concept to black women. We are taught above all else to be strong. Historically and presently our strength has been a necessity for survival. In being strong for ourselves, for everyone else, too many black women are walking through life unhealed.

There is a popular adage in the black community, “Black people don’t go to therapy, we go to church.” Seeking therapy is equated with being “crazy”. While we snicker at the thought of therapy, the men and women in our community are hurting.

Black women in particularly are dealing with a wide range of stresses that are so familiar it becomes a normal part of life. The constant promoted images of beauty being a stark contrast to what they see in the mirror, the demands of their careers, taking care of the family, heartbreaks, growing up without fathers, sexual abuse and strained parental relationships are only a few of the issues black women may be carrying with them daily. The adoption of the superwoman myth teaches black women to carry the burden, pray and keep being strong.

Rarely will anyone mention seeking a therapist because, after all, we can just go to church and come out a renewed woman.

With church being the central foundation of the black community it is understandable the conflict black women would have between their faith and seeking professional help.

But church is no substitute for healing when one is dealing with the number of societal and economical issues that affect black women’s mental health. Our refusal to really deal with the emotional affects of issues even predating to slavery, is only spilling over into other areas of our lives.

Mental health can also affect one’s physical health. With heart disease being the number one killer of black women, strokes and diabetes coming in as the third and fourth highest killer of black women, we cannot afford to ignore the mental or physical.


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  • African Mami

    The notion that therapy is for crazies needs to be put on a permanent halt. Completely support this!!

  • So true, and the more I learn about therapy I almost feel like everyone could use a little therapy. If not to prove that we are not alone in this, but to teach us how to cope with stress effectively. It’s been my experience that a smart therapist will often times encourage and promote spirituality as a tried and true way of dealing with stress and a way to help with anxiety and depression, as long as we know WHAT we are dealing with and why we are reacting in specific ways. The problem then lies in not having the money or the insurance to get the help we need.

  • zahra

    I went through much needed therapy after a break down a few years back. All of these negative messages that I usually ignored in the media finally got into my head and made me extremely depressed. It began with a boy that I had the biggest crush on dismissing me because I didn’t fit into his beauty ideal, my A+ grades were slipping as I was blanking out on tests, I felt like an outkast in my mostly white high school and with my “friends” living the suburbs and I in the inner-city felt completely alone. All the time I was suppressing the sexual abuse I dealt with as a child. Therapy helped me in many ways then one, and I would recommend it for anyone dealing with a tough situation.

    Therapy allowed me the time to focus solely on myself, and in doing so I was able to heal from the pain I felt and move on. I can truly say to you, without lying that I am now happy, and have found love in people who support me 100%.

    • zahra

      I firmly believe I would not be in the positive state I’m in now if I hadn’t gone through therapy.

  • sillythepooh

    Zahra I could have written that comment…best wishes to you sweetheart, I know what it’s like to be there AND to get to the other side.