I am angry and disappointed but not surprised. Historically the Black community has had a taboo relationship with mental health. The shift has slowly happened where people have opened up the conversation about therapy and getting support.
My relationship with therapy and mental health is a little different. Therapy has always been talked about in a positive way during my upbringing. My mother is a therapist and other family members and friends are as well. I finally took the step of being proactive and trying to set myself up with the adult life I wanted. I knew I needed a therapist. I needed someone to talk to and someone I could express my thoughts, without it being friends or family. Obstacles came at me quickly. The struggles of finding a therapist was rough. I was going through lists and websites and recommendations from people. That thorough search took me a year. I finally reached out to my insurance and was like “I need someone now, just to get me set up”.
I got scheduled a month out with a temp therapist. He was a man of color, he listened, he wasn’t Black but wasn’t afraid to talk about race and he told me he was leaving in 2 months. After my first session I felt reassured that things I ranted about were valid and it was okay I was feeling that way. I had my second to last appointment this month and my anxiety was running high. I had to continue my frustrating search of finding a therapist. It is very hard to email multiple providers to tell you that they aren’t accepting new clients. The extra level of trickiness is finding someone you don’t know. My close community has many mental health providers that I know personally or my mom knows. That makes my list very short, especially living in Portland with my preference of having a Black woman therapist. I personally believe my nail and hair appointments should be covered under my insurance since it’s easier to book with them, than to find a Black provider. Getting your nails and hair done is kinda like therapy and looks like it will be my form of support for awhile.
I will continue my long search of finding a therapist even if it’s the most time consuming, frustrating and confusing process. It will be worth it. Friends who have therapists, want therapists or are therapists, keep doing the good work.
Much love on your journey of finding support and being an advocate for your mental health