The proverbial saying that “Black women are strong” emit a fairytale that shows us as an ultimate superhero that doesn’t need any help to be saved. Truth lies in the fact that black women have had to be resilient over time due systemic oppression that has caused a break within the black family and helped to create the absence of the black men within the home. The residual effect of this belief has further propelled “The angry black woman” stereotype labeling black women as overbearing, ill tempered, illogical and aggressive just to name a few terms used that have made it hard to even receive proper help from white mental health therapist; because they will use these stereotypes as a gauge for treatment, due to lack of representation and lack of cultural competence leaving black women uncomfortable all while still sitting in depression.

Many of us have days where we go to target, Starbucks, etc. and arrive back home, pulling back up in our driveways and just cry.  In a state of feeling alone, as a single parent, parent, aunt, sister, daughter just as a person period who feels overwhelmed by daily life; feelings of wasting time and not accomplishing my purpose. Facing the hurt and traumas from my childhood, not feeling worthy, feeling as if God has left us. And just being exhausted from the state of affairs that comes with being black and a black woman in America. 

Realizing that we are a part of statistical numbers in America; we as blacks make up 14.1 percent of the population according to pew research but according to the U.S. department of health and human services over 10% of depression affects black women, whom most of us are leading homes and are the primary breadwinners which adds another level of stressors to black women.

Black women are lacking the safe space needed to be vulnerable and have a true open dialogue that would lead to healing. Being the “angry black woman” or the “strong black woman” leaves black women without covering having to be able to accept the fate of showing strength regardless of the circumstances, and showing wisdom no matter the feeling of defeat, because in the end it’s about surviving.

 Therefore, if black women persevering through violence, lower socioeconomic status, holding jobs with limited opportunities and dealing with discrimination; as well as racial bias, it is further clear why seeking help is the least of our worries. Society has convicted us, by a jury that is not of our own peers and placed us in a box with a one size fit all type of attitude leaving black women unwilling to seek help due to distrust and cultural sensitivity while still facing the same problem “Depression.” 

So, I am making a call to action to my sisters to say now is the time to truly see yourself, you’re not “angry” but tired, tired of being unseen and not heard, and tired of feeling defeated and alone, but know you’re not alone it’s thousands of us around the world fight the same problem and silence is killing us so let’s not be quiet anymore  let’s “SPEAK UP” for black women state of mental health and let’s do it TOGETHER!!


Article by: Shynikia Means


Photo Credits: BWHI