African American Men and Mental Health in New Jersey

African American Men and Mental Health in New Jersey

Addressing the Unique Mental Health Challenges Faced by African American Men

               Mental health is an important aspect of overall well-being, yet the unique challenges faced by African American men and mental health care representation are often under-acknowledged.  Additionally, the intersection of race, gender, and socioeconomic status can contribute to a range of mental health issues in this population. Black men and men of color may experience discrimination, racism, and other forms of trauma that can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Many men of color may feel reluctant to seek out mental health care due to the stigma that surrounds mental illness in the black community.
          As mental health professionals, it is important that we acknowledge these unique challenges and work to create a safe and welcoming environment for black men seeking mental health care. To create such an environment, providers practice culturally sensitive care and recognizing and addressing the role that systemic racism and discrimination play in mental health outcomes.

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The Importance of Grief Counseling in the African American Community

     Grief is a natural and normal response to loss. However, people of color, specifically African American men, are less likely to receive grief counseling and support. The black community has a long history of resilience and strength in the face of adversity, but this can also lead to a culture of silence and stoicism when it comes to grief and loss. Additionally, many black men may feel pressure to “tough it out” or to hide their emotions, which can lead to unresolved grief and other mental health issues.

     As stated above, mental health providers must acknowledge the role of grief and loss in the lives of African American men and work to create a safe and supportive space for them to process and heal. This may involve using culturally sensitive approaches to grief counseling, such as incorporating rituals or traditions that are meaningful to the black community. Moreover, it may involve addressing the stigma around seeking help for grief and loss, and working to empower black men to take an active role in their own mental health and healing.

Finding A Black Therapist

     To begin your search for a therapist, it’s important to consider what factors are most important to you in finding the right fit. This may include the therapist’s race and gender, as these can play a significant role in how comfortable and open you feel in therapy. 
     If you’re unsure about therapy, or getting linked with the right therapist for you, that’s okay! You can try out a few different therapists and see who you connect with best.  Remember, you have the right to ask for what you want and need from your therapist and they can tell you if they’re able to provide the service you’re looking for. If not, don’t hesitate to ask for referrals until you find the right match.

African American man in tele-therapy session in NJ
Ask questions.

Don’t be afraid to ask potential therapists for what you want and need, as you have the right to seek the services you’re paying for. 

  • How familiar are you with African American culture and background.
  • What type of training and education do you have in working with diverse populations. 
  • How comfortable do you feel addressing BIPOC issues?
  • What do you do to maintain cultural competence in mental health care?
  • Do you treat many patients who are black or persons of color?
  • How much antiracism training have you done?
  • What sorts of culturally specific resources do you refer your patients to?
  • Will you let me know if you don’t feel you can support me in the way that I need?

Meet Kristin Justice, LAC

Kristin’s culturally competent approach to grief therapy allows her to reach individuals of diverse backgrounds

Click here to learn more about Kristin Justice

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