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Mental Illness and the Black Community

Everyday someone suffers from some type of mental illness. Nobody wants to acknowledge that they're mentally unhealthy and need help. Bipolar, depression, ADD and ADHD, schizophrenia, etc. Black people are scared to admit that we too have these issues. It's no longer a "white person's disease", it's everybody's disease and nobody is exempt from it. It can happen to any and everyone and at different times in people's lives, whether it be good or bad.

2 years ago, my 8 year old daughter was diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, and I believe some of her symptoms are that of borderline bipolar disorder as well. Her therapist agrees with me on the last observation. She was in kindergarten and started having behavioral trouble in school. She never had problems in pre-K and I thought this environment would be even better since her older sister was attending the same school but that wasn't the case. I was in school myself when I started getting phone calls if not everyday every other day about her misbehaving. It got to the point where she was getting suspended every week; that turned into her going to school for only half a day, which in turn would be expulsion if things didn't improve.

At this point I had no choice but to seek help. I told her doctor about her behavior and she suggested sending her to a behavioral therapist. I did and she started going once a week for a few months and then once every couple months unless she started going south again. She also saw a psychiatrist who prescribed her some very mild medications but it helped. She still has her moments but for the most part she's better and we're steady working on her.

I was so confused and hurt because I thought I was failing as a mother but I find that there are so many parents dealing with behavioral problems with their children, most are worse so I'm blessed that she's not as bad as she could be. I just want our community to realize that mental health is very important and can come in all ages and stages. It's okay to admit you have problems and need help. Sometimes you just need to talk to someone, whether professionally or a friend that will keep your business confidential.

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