February is Black History Month and a great time to highlight the importance of cultural competence and cultural humility in medical and behavioral health care.
The first step to receiving respectful, understanding, and successful care is to find a competent therapist.
How to Find a Culturally-Competent Therapist
If you are looking for a mental health provider who understands your culture, often the best place to start is with family and friends. If you are comfortable, asking for recommendations (you can even do this anonymously on some message boards) from others can help to guide you in the right direction.
Some databases can also help you find a provider that fits your needs. The Black Virtual Wellness Directory is devoted to black mental health and the National Alliance on Mental Illness offers an array of resources.
How Do I Know I am Meeting with a Culturally-Competent Therapist?
The best way to find out if you are meeting with the right therapist for you is to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to put your therapist on the spot. After all their job is to make you feel comfortable and safe.
You can start by asking if they have ever worked with someone with a similar cultural background. Talk to them about how they feel about providing care to someone of your culture. Ask them what they are doing to provide care to diverse patients. The right therapist will be open to exploring your feelings about attending therapy. If they are not, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
At Whole Journey, we are proud that our team provides both culturally-competent therapists and black therapists. We especially wanted to take the time to celebrate our black therapists. They work daily serving the needs of our communities. You can learn more about our therapists here.
Black Mental Health Facts
- Nearly 65% of African American youth report traumatic experiences, compared to 30% of their peers from other ethnic groups. This makes them more at risk for developing mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
- Race-based trauma can be passed down genetically through generations, it’s called intergenerational transmission. Stress can cause changes to reproductive cells and the uterine environment where a fetus develops. This means people whose ancestors experienced trauma can be more vulnerable to mental health conditions like anxiety. (Source: McLean Hospital)
- Postpartum depression is higher for black women than for white women (Source: American Hospital Association).
- Feelings of depression and anxiety are higher in pregnant black women than in white, due to many racial disparities.
- Postpartum depression affects one in eight women, but studies show the risk is 1.6 times higher for black women than for white women.
Ready to begin counseling in Virginia or North Carolina?
Whole Journey works with clients throughout the state of Virginia and North Carolina via our online counseling platforms. We have office locations in Chesapeake, Richmond, Vinton, and Charlotte. Our counselors are professionally trained in helping people to live healthier, happier lives. We want to see you thrive. Call our Virginia offices at 757-296-0800 or our North Carolina office at 980- 209-9805 to schedule an appointment.
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This content was originally published here.