If you’ve been exposed to racism most of your life, chances are you haven’t given much time or thought to how it could impact your mental health.
A February 2023 article in The Washington Post shared multiple studies that reported that “racism takes a toll on the brain.” The psychological effects of racism can lead to chronic stress, anxiety, fear, anger, and other life-threatening ailments.
We listed some of the subtle and not-so-subtle racial moments that can impact your mental health.
Have you ever experienced store employees refusing to assist you or following you around the store when shopping? For example, Lorenzo Boyd shared his experience shopping for a luxury vehicle while Black. After a sales associate was “slow” to assist him at the car dealership, he says they asked him “Are you sure you want this one? This one’s a little pricey.”
Mispronunciation of Your Name
When people refuse to say your name correctly, it can feel disrespectful and cause anxiety. Many in the Black community can relate to experiences like Yewande Biala, who said when she was only five years old, she told her mom she would give her children, when she grew up, “European” names so no one would laugh at them.
Disinvestment in Black Communities
A McKinsey & Company report states, “One out of every five Black households is situated in a food desert, with few grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers markets.” This scarcity creates obstacles and stress for people to obtain basic essentials.
Maternal mortality rate among Black women is more than double the average. During a time when most mothers are filled with joy and excitement, expecting Black mothers and their families are experiencing anxiety due to the treatment of Black mothers during childbirth.
Being the Only Black Person at Work
Being the sole Black person at work or in a department can be isolating and create a fear of showing up as your authentic self, leading to stress, anxiety, and an overall decline in work performance. Unsurprisingly, a 2021 poll showed that 97 percent of Black workers were not ready to return to offices “riddled with racial microaggressions, discrimination and glass ceilings.”
Have you ever experienced or noticed any of these moments?
Therapy offers an outlet for navigating the complexities of a contradictory world and a safe space to release pent-up stress, angst, and negativity. Having someone to talk to can help you cope with the challenges of racism.
Whether you’re a person of color facing racism or an ally seeking understanding, therapy helps you navigate these challenges. Prioritize your mental health and reach out today at TheLadipoGroup.com/Therapy.
The Ladipo Group was founded to increase access to Black therapists in Philadelphia and decrease the stigma of mental health treatment. With our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consulting, we collaborate with organizations and institutions to create equitable spaces and opportunities for Black, Brown, and African Americans to thrive.