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May 08, 2018
The increasing shift in attention on mental health awareness is a positive occurrence that must be encouraged. Not only has this helped to create resources for treatment and assistance, it has improved the way we view these disorders and has greatly lifted the stigma that some of these health problems have been associated with. In fact, as a result of the visibility, more and more people are finding it easier to talk about their problems, visit professionals and live comfortably with assistance and professional treatment.
However, one thing that remains noticeable is the absence of visibility of women of color in this fight against mental illness. This is quite apparent as even the media portrayal does a poor job at depicting exactly what percentage of women of color are affected by this issue. It may then be concluded that the community is not exactly affected by such a grave issue as a result of the lack of representation, but a deeper look shows that this lack of portrayal and acknowledgement starts off from within the community and is then adopted as common knowledge by the surrounding environment.
There is a deep stigma that exists in communities of color which has made any conversation on mental illness a humiliating one. This is unfortunate as all it does is to promote the existence of these disorders as more and more people learn to convince themselves that these things do not exist. While mental illnesses do not discriminate, it is important to understand that people do and until that stigma is lifted by supplying more education about the subject matter, there will only be an increase in the ignorance and lack of acknowledgement that prevails.
This seems to be even worse for women of color especially in professional settings. Not only have people from such communities been able to accomplish quite a lot of achievements in spite of the severity of various obstacles they have faced, they have been able to withstand the continued effects of discrimination both in and out of the workplace. With this knowledge, it is easy to see why women of color will possess a reluctant disposition to giving people another reason to treat them differently than they normally would. Unfortunately, this means an even bigger problem as more lives are being lost to these illnesses, attacks, and suicides whose causes are deeply rooted in these disorders.
A huge part of the solution begins from unlearning the stigma that communities of color have learnt from years of discrimination and improper education. These negative beliefs must be slowly conditioned away and more awareness needs to be created in order to empower women of color and help them come to terms with what exactly the problem is. Until these resources are made available for the proper orientation, education and even treatment, it will remain difficult for communities of color to accept the damage that mental health disorders have caused. By learning that they do not need to be ashamed of their mental health conditions, women of color can finally learn to properly handle their mental health problems and help others to do so.
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