What continues to be unaddressed within the African American community is the particular social, political and historic factors that contribute to the overall mental health of the community. We continue to deny the traumatic and historic effects of the legacy of chattel slavery, state-sponsored terrorism, Jim Crow, segregation, race-based exclusion from healthcare, education, social and economic resources, which all translate into socioeconomic disparities experienced disproportionally by African American people generationally. Research shows that socioeconomic status is inextricably bound to mental health: People who are impoverished, homeless, incarcerated or have substance abuse problems are at higher risk for poor mental health and mental health disease. The criminal justice system and the increase of mass incarceration within the Black community, and the “privatization” of prisons giving rise to the prison industrial complex, including the school to prison pipeline, has exacerbated the mental health issues among our families and within our neighborhoods.
What can we do? When mental health providers are predominantly white and less