Be Your Own Advocate

If anything was brought to light during this current pandemic, it is most certainly the need for more focus on mental health and the importance of this service among the Black, Indigenous, People Of Color (BIPOC) community. But what type of mental health services are we talking about? If you are BIPOC and looking at getting into therapy, I would encourage you to shop around and ask questions that can help you make a more informed decision as to if this therapist would be a good fit for you. There is no doubt that it can be challenging to find a BIPOC therapist and one that is accepting new patients.

Know that there is nothing wrong with seeking out a therapist from your own ethnic background. Representation matters and if you have the opportunity to seek out someone with a similar ethnic background and you feel it will make a difference then by all means seek out what you prefer. You will be working with this service provider and sharing your most intimate details and feelings so please think about what will make you feel the most comfortable.

Itʻs no secret that BIPOC communities suffer many disparities. Proper and culturally competent mental health services are absolutely one of the disparities. According to a past (pre-pandemic) article written by the General Office of the Surgeon General (US); Center for Mental Health Services (US); National Institute of Mental Health (US) titled “ Mental Health: Culture, Race and Ethnicity”,

“The foremost barriers include the cost of care, societal stigma, and the fragmented organization of services. Additional barriers include clinicians' lack of awareness of cultural issues, bias, or inability to speak the client's language, and the client's fear and mistrust of treatment. More broadly, disparities also stem from minorities' historical and present day struggles with racism and discrimination, which affect their mental health and contribute to their lower economic, social, and political status.”