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What is Mental Heath?


Mental illnesses date back to the beginning of time and are said to have been written into such scriptures as Ephesians 4:23, “and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”  At one point it was thought that a mental illness was a curse.  Compared to other racial groups, the African American community has the largest number of untreated mental health disorders.

Mental health disorders have stigmas associated with them, so many people chose not to have a mental health evaluation and go their whole life struggling and/or being misunderstood. This denial makes relationships difficult to have with those who have certain mental health disabilities.


E​ducating people and bringing awareness around mental illnesses will remove the misunderstanding and often, lack of empathy to those who do not understand. The silent disabilities are the most difficult for the person with it because they are functional and do not show physical signs of a mental health disability, people forget that they may be talking to someone who is suicidal. There are no signs.

​The minority communities are the hardest for those who need a physocological evaluation to admit or for their family to acknowledge, that something is wrong. The signs are obvious but the denial is stronger than the acceptance. This is often due to the behaviors of others around them. Some mental illnesses are inhereted, so their personality seems normal to them. Also, it's all they know themselves to be. But, for those who recognize they may need help usually do not seek it because it's frowned upon. So many minorities are struggling and the lack of understanding is the reason why.

Scripture tells us that Jesus cared for the sick and the lame, and offered spiritual freedom, “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”  (Romans 8:6).  Many people view mental health disorders as a weakness or punishment from God, as a result of this stigma conversations that need to be addressed are being ignored.

Types of Mental Health Illnesses

Feeling sad and depressed for weeks and/or months. This is not about feeling sad. This feeling is most often accompanied by a sense of hopelessness, a lack of energy (or feeling “weighed down”) and having little to no energy to do anything, even the smallest things become a challenge.

Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the U.S. and impacts African Americans at a higher rate than any other group, especially African American women. Anxiety Disorders range from Panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD).

Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, you can manage your mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Trauma exposure is high in African Americans who live in stressful urban environments. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression are common outcomes of trauma exposure and are understudied in African Americans.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)/Attention deficit disorder (ADD), is a developmental disorder where there are significant problems with attention, hyperactivity or acting impulsively.

Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by severe, unstable mood swings, impulsivity and instability, poor self-image and stormy relationships.

Schizophrenia Disorder
Schizophrenia causes people to lose touch with reality, often in the form of hallucinations, delusions and extremely disordered thinking and behavior. 

Eating Disorders
When you become so preoccupied with food and weight issues that you find it hard to focus on other aspects of your life, it may be a sign of an eating disorder.

Substance Use Disorder
Substance use disorders can refer to substance use or substance dependence.  Symptoms include Behavioral changes, Physical changes, and Social changes.​

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