Saturday, July 13, 2024

‘Lack of representation’: Minority Mental Health Month highlights gaps in Tulsa

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TULSA, Okla. — July was named National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in 2008 by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The goal of the month is to bring awareness to the unique mental health struggles that minorities in America face.

2 News spoke with a locals to learn more about these struggles.

Daniel Washington works at Black Wall Street Souvenirs. Washington said the lack of representation in mental health professionals needs to be addressed.

According to Prosper Oklahoma, five of every 100 Tulsa psychologists are Black.

“There needs to be way more therapist counselors, youth programs for people dealing with mental health, churches,” said Washington.

Tulsa’s quality of life score for African Americans is the lowest it’s been since 2018.

It’s even worse for those living in poverty. The Department of Health and Human Services reports they are three times more likely to have mental health problems.

“I’m glad they’re giving it some more awareness to really talk about it and really talk about what’s going on with our mental health,” said Washington.

2 News asked Jadea Miller, a counselor at Revive Counseling, what she’s experienced. Miller said she’s seen some troubling trends with Black people coming to therapy.

“People are using substances to cover or self-mediate and self-regulate when they just need to release their stress by talking about the problems that they’re facing,” said Miller.

Miller said despite the troubling trends, she’s hopeful things will get better.

“Minorities feel empowered; they don’t feel disempowered behind what they’ve been through,” said Miller.

Staff at Revive Counseling said they are expanding their services to help reach more minority clients.

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