Breaking the stigma of mental health in the black community

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
Posted at 10:29 PM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 23:35:53-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and even though we're approaching August, professionals want the conversation to continue year round.

Mental illness affects everyone regardless of sex, gender, income or race, but there's a push in Nashville and across the nation to get more people in the black community talking about depression, anxiety and stress disorders.

"A lot of African Americans would rather talk to big mamma as opposed to talking to a mental health professional," said Dr. Thurman Webb Jr.

Tennessee State psychology Professor, Dr. Webb Jr. and Fisk University professor of psychology Dr. Jeremy Lynch want to change the conversation. July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and even though the month is almost over mental illness is an everyday battle.

"It's a conversation that needs to happen all year round," said Webb.

But finding the right words can be hard, so these doctors are taking the awareness to the pulpit.

"We have been on our personal mission going to churches to try to break down this idea that it’s enough to just pray about it," said Webb.

According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population.

"When we look at mental health it’s primarily been addressed by the spiritually and religious space," said Webb.

Lynch and Webb want to use the space of the church to get more people from prayers to professionals.

"Often times in our community we write it off as something else and we keep going, so it's really raising awareness," said Dr. Lynch.

The doctors are also working hard to more minorities in the field of of psychology.