Visit us on Facebook icon-twitter.png icon-linkedin.png icon-google.png icon-vimeo.png icon-youtube.png icon-flickr.png     About Us     Contact Us      323-296-0310

Look for us at upcoming community fairs, forums, and events near you

Family.jpg

Mending Our Mind, Body, & Soul

 

In July 2005, the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a national profile on women and health care that strongly supports the need for improved access to mental health care.  The study reports that African-American women have the highest rates of chronic health conditions than any other ethnic group which includes but is not limited to arthritis, respiratory problems like asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, and obesity to name a few.  What the profile also notes is that “the mental health status of women is often overlooked, yet it plays a crucial role in their overall health and well-being.”  What also gets unreported is the connection between stress and anxiety that contributes to overeating resulting in obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease, and hypertension in women of color and the use of “food” for comfort rather than “words” of comfort to manage our stress and anxiety.   Another contributing factor to under-reported mental health symptoms among women of color is coping styles.  According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Surgeon General Report (2001) on Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity, African-Americans have a tendency to take responsibility for their own mental health problems and are more inclined to handle their mental health issues without assistance rather than seek professional help.  Additionally, as cited in the Surgeon General’s Report, culturally, there is a desire to rely on faith and spirituality as a primary intervention for overcoming emotional and psychological illness.  Also cited in the report, African-Americans are less likely to seek mental health treatment than non-ethnic minority groups.  A contributing factor to this is mistrust, as identified in the report based on historical experiences and perceived experiences of racism and discrimination.

Our Journey to Healing

 

There is probably one major contributing factor to women of color and the African-American community at large that affect our pattern of non-help seeking behavior.  This would be our intergenerational, internalized maladaptive coping mechanisms that have been passed down  from one generation to the next.  (Dr. Joy DeGruy, author of “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome – America’s Enduring Legacy of Injury and Healing”) These unhealthy coping capacities are the result of untreated trauma, which manifest in our mass denial of collective and individual vulnerability.  It also perpetuates the expectation of the “strong Black Woman”, and does not permit us the normalcy of natural emotive responses to traumatic and tragic events without being perceived as weak, helpless, and dependent.   This misperception is contributing to our high mortality rates and disproportional rates of chronic illnesses.   It is our time to launch a moratorium on the importance of our mental health for our individual well-being and survival, for our families, loved ones, and our community.

The primary purpose of the information in this website is to help us women of color who are grappling with the daily stressors of finding balance in managing our caregiving responsibilities, work, career, faith obligations, child rearing, relationships, and social obligations to improve our quality of life and reduce our risk of mental and physical illness.  The information provided on this website will provide an overview and description of common mental health issues that we women experience like depression, grief and loss, and anxiety.  Additionally, the mental health topics on this website will offer practical tips and coping strategies as well as address other stressors that we women experience like stress and anxiety associated with our caregiving responsibilities, our drama, trauma and tragedy, and access additional resources and information for sustaining our emotional wellness.    While thie information in this website in no way reflects a comprehensive, exhaustive compendium of information on the topic, it does provide us with a brief overview of common mental health problems that we women experience as well as some helpful tips for managing and coping with these issues that we can apply as a daily practice and share with our fellow sistahs and brothas. 

 It is our hope that you will find this information useful and helpful.  We are also interested in your feedback regarding additional information you would like for us to cover and whether or not this website was helpful to you.  Please feel free to e-mail us at .

SISTAHFRIENDS Dedication

 

This information contained in this website is dedicated to communities of color.  We pay tribute to each and every one of you who have paved the way to our collective emotional well-being.  We especially like to dedicate this to women of color who have courageously overcome emotional stressors and pain including depression, grief and loss, anxiety, and stress.  We especially want to thank those of you who helped us collectively heal from our pain through music, poetry, literature, spoken word, dance, art, education, political, social, community activism, and through your generous philanthropy.  Lastly, we thank those of you who publicly shared your experiences of tragedy, triumph, and faith which make us a resilient, compassionate and loving culture. 

Acknowledgements

 

The majority of mental health nformation contained in this publication was obtained from the HelpGuide.org, a free on-line resource to help us resolve health challenges.  We wish to acknowledge and express our sincere gratitude to the contributors of the HelpGuide as without them making this information readily accessible on line, we would not be able to share it with you.  We would also like to thank Dr. Cheryl MacDonald, RN, Psy. D., Health Psychology of San Diego for her excellent article describing the therapay process.   Additional mental health information for our emotional health and wellness was obtained from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI).

 

 

 

Powered by liveSite Get your free site!