According to Sa’uda Dunlap, Assistant Director of Social Work at Kings County Hospital Center, the stigma of mental health in the African- American community is a major deterrent for seeking treatment.
“I’ve been treating people for 6+ years and it is at the top of the list when I explore concerns consumers and families have about treatment. Many African Americans fear that they will be labeled “crazy” or will be “locked up.” As a clinician, I use my initial contacts with consumers and families to address fears of being involuntarily hospitalized by explaining the difference between typical mental health challenges and “being crazy,’ including the role of insight and self-efficacy.”
Family can be a great support system but they can also be judgmental and the reason for the stigma. This largely occurs in the African-American community. With roots grounded in religion, many view it as something that should not be discussed.
A recent podcast on Huffington Post’s website asserts that over 66% of Protestants have never heard a sermon about mental health. The lack of education in the church community and in the African-American community is a key issue for the stigma in mental health.