Disclaimer: This article is in no way meant to substitute for medical or mental health advice from a trained and educated mental health professional. Muslim Girl encourages those who need help to seek it, and encourages the use of resources such as therapists, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and trained mental health professionals. You should never try to manage your mental health alone. You are not alone, and there is no shame in seeking professional help. Muslim Girl also does not recommend self-diagnosis; again, please seek the help of a professional. The following are the views and experiences of the author only.
July is Minority Mental Health Month. I wanted to shed light on the realities of mental health issues as a minority. It’s daunting to fight the demons inside of your brain, especially when society is also a detrimental factor to why you feel a certain way. Being a minority puts one at a disadvantage in a society that has its own standards of what is likeable.
It’s not easy finding the inspiration or strength to wake up every morning and feel productive. It’s extremely difficult to go about your day with a smile on your face, especially when you feel there’s no one who understands your struggles. Minority groups suffer cultural stigmas surrounding mental health because it seems that no one wants to believe that mental health issues exist within these communities.
When the mental health of minority groups is overlooked as unimportant, individuals begin to feel worthless and confused. A society that invalidates one’s struggles and puts their voice on the back burner is damaging to mental health. Moreover, individuals who fall in minority groups begin to feel confused. The confusion kicks in because they don’t know whether to value their self-worth or continue to think they are invaluable.
The racial and ethnic disparities in mental health care further add to the problem. Limited access to resources makes it impossible for minority groups to receive the help they need. Minority groups must be connected with therapists of similar ethnic and racial backgrounds who relate to their struggles. By doing this, minority groups will feel that their concerns are being answered.
Understanding that incongruity exists when it comes to mental health within minority groups is the first step of action. When we’re able to realize that a problem exists, finding a solution becomes a priority. The struggles of minority groups are unique, and must be catered to because they are also human beings that matter. It is unfortunate that mental health conditions are treatable, yet there are limited resources available for certain racial and ethnic demographics. It’s time we stop categorizing minorities as lesser beings who don’t need attention, and instead shift our focus to helping any and all human beings regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, and/or sexuality.