In Pittsburgh, Pa, more than 50% of black girls that go to the Pittsburgh Public schools live in poverty. Out of this percentage, according to the Fisa Foundation, most black girls experience some sort of victimization or become traumatized for something they have seen or something that has been done to them.
Some of these experiences include: violent threats, harassment, dating violence, abuse from parents or guardians, verbal abuse, or sexual abuse. They are also nine times more likely to have someone close to them lose their life to violence.
These issues often lead to PTSD, other mental health disorders such as depression, or behavior problems.
Fixing these issues are often hard because of generations of how the black community handles mental health conditions and/or behavioral problems. According to Dr. Monnica Williams, a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Connecticut, many black people do not seek help for themselves or their children because in the social circle of the black community, one may be described as “crazy.” Also, a high percentage of black people who live in poverty are less likely to be able to financially afford getting treated for a mental health disorder.
Getting help for black girls who struggle with mental health disorders starts with the black community recognizing that mental health disorders do exist. We need to realize that getting help for mental health disorders helps in leading a healthy life. We also need to learn that it is ok to not be ok. Positive coping skills, channeling negative energy into positive energy, and knowing that this black girl is getting the help she needs professionally, is a first step towards helping black girls in Pittsburgh who struggle with these issues, embark on a positive path.
Please share thoughts and opinions on how we can tackle the problem with getting black girls help with their mental health.
“Why African Americans Avoid Psychotherapy.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/culturally-speaking/201111/why-african-americans-avoid-psychotherapy.
“New Report: Inequities Affecting Black Girls in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.” FISA Foundation, fisafoundation.org/2016/10/new-report-inequities-affecting-black-girls-in-pittsburgh-and-allegheny-county/.