My Quest To Teach

May 13, 2011

Mental Health for African Americans

Filed under: Uncategorized — William Jackson @ 05:02

Mental Health in the Black Community at Edward Waters College

“A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Forget” is a twist from the popular quote;
“A Mind Is a Terrible Thing To Waste” (UNCF)

Edward Waters College is hosting Mental Health and the Black Community Conference  Building Coalitions for Community Empowerment A Model for Collective Responsibility
A Gathering of Fathers

These two (2) important and much needed events are recognizing the accumulating mental stresses and strains that the African American community has been and continues to face.

As a past Professor at Edward Waters College, this HBCU has spearheaded community initiates that address relevant issues affecting the African American community.  Thursday, May 12th thru Saturday, May 14th healthcare professionals will provide community services that address the Socio-Economic, Socio-Mental and Socio-Emotional issues  that impact the mental stresses and strains that affect mental functions in our society by African Americans. Addressing this issue is a challenge for African Americans who by history are fearful and untrusting of the medical mental health community, with only 2% of the nation’s psychologists that are Black it is important when events such as this are available African Americans should make every effort to attend.

Mental health issues are a growing concern with the increase of homelessness in our
communities, health care disparities, return of service men and women from armed conflict around the world, parents struggling with children that seem out of control, unemployment, loss or downgrade of employment benefits, physical illnesses (HIV, cancer, unplanned pregnancies, alcohol and drug dependency) and the every day stresses of life. These issues overwhelm people every day, the recent deaths of young mothers and their children from suicides, and murder / suicides bears witness to the importance of the availability of mental services. People are in mental and emotional pain, crying out for help.

There is a dire need for shaping and invigorating the conversation on Black Mental Health. The stigma of mental illness should not be silenced, but a dialogue of discussions should be expanded. African Americans comprise approximately 20 percent of the United States population; but African Americans represent more that 25 percent of the nations mental health needs. As a result Black male suicide rates have climbed by more than 200 percent, depression rates among Black women is 50 percent higher than their white counterparts – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (

The mounting mental health needs among Black people are compounded by the lack of  mental health service or mis-information about current services in the community. Getting over the stigma of mental illness, Blacks remain statistically less likely to access proper mental health services than other racial groups. Even national news agencies such as
National Public Radio (NPR) have addressed mental illness –

Quoted, “Come Out and Take Charge of Your Family, Your Community & Your Health.”

Taking charge is important now more than ever. The Jacksonville community must come out and support these efforts that address this sometimes hidden illness of mental illness. Disproportionally minorities struggle with this issue from lack of education and not being aware of services to help themselves or help family members.
Mental Health and the Black Community “Building Coalitions for Community Empowerment

A Model for Collective Responsibility” hopes to empower the African American community with education. This event is sponsored by the: Northwest Behavioral Health Services & Edward Waters College

“Come Out and Take Charge of Your Family, Your Community & Your Health”

Contact Person: Steward Washington 904-703-6532

For More Information Download this PDF Stress of Life20flyer.pdf


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