Regarding Black Mental Health | Legacy Healing Center
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Black Mental Health Matters

Written By Legacy Healing Center - Nov 18 2022

Black Mental Health Matters

Table of Contents

It is no secret that American history has seen a shift in culture over the years. Although there have been improvements, there are still countless reminders that diversity and affected systems have a long way to go. A clear example of this is the disparities that many African Americans face in regard to treatment for addiction and mental illness. Being cognizant of these occurrences is one of the most important steps to addressing them. That is why Legacy Healing center is analyzing the factors of black mental health care and why culturally competent treatment is so important.

Statistics to Keep In Mind

Although mental illness rates are relatively similar in African Americans as they are in the general population, there are still disparities that indicate not enough is being done to address the issues at hand.

First, only 1 in 3 black people will obtain mental health care when they need it. Compared with the general population, they are less likely to be offered proper medication therapy. They are also more likely to be incarcerated for exhibiting symptoms of mental illnesses like psychosis, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.1

Second, compared specifically to white people, African Americans are more likely to experience harsher physician-patient communication. They are also more likely to be misdiagnosed and are overall less likely to receive quality care that meets a variety of different guidelines.1 These statistics highlight the troubling but very real disparities that this community is regularly faced with and why proper black mental health care is so crucial.

What Affects Mental Health in the Black Community?

There are numerous factors that play negative roles in the mental health of many black Americans. By addressing these, we can take a step towards overcoming them. 

Barriers to care and wellness include:

  • Socioeconomic disparities: When people are uninsured, many are not able to receive the care that they need. In fact, 2018 saw 11.5% of black adults without any type of health insurance.2
  • There is a stigma surrounding mental illness: We can’t solve a problem that we refuse to admit is there. The cultural stigma that exists around black mental health makes it that much less likely that people who need help will reach out for it.
  • Inequality of care as a result of bias: Historically, African Americans have been negatively affected by the internal (and at times external) biases of those tasked with caring for them. Provider bias is especially damaging because it can lead to misdiagnosis and a subsequent lack of proper treatment.
  • Lack of representation of mental health workers: It is difficult for someone to understand how to provide culturally competent care when they themselves can’t empathize with the unique struggles that black Americans face.

Resources for Black Mental Health Care

Everyone deserves treatment that is compassionate while comprehensively addressing the issues at hand. If you are an African American patient who fears you won’t receive quality care, there are numerous facilities, collectives, and organizations designed to specifically address the unique challenges that come with the experience of being a black person in America. 

These resources include:

There are countless other online directories to access that offer even more incredible resources to those that need them. 

For those in need of comprehensive addiction care, our Legacy Healing Center locations offer a variety of treatment programs that can address numerous kinds of substance abuse. We understand the importance of diversity and seek to practice with principles of empathy and cultural awareness.

To learn more about our different therapy programs, call Legacy Healing at 888-534-2295 today.


  1. American Psychiatric Association – Mental Health Disparities: African Americans
  2. NAMI – Mental Health in Black Communities: Challenges, Resources, Community Voices

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