We’ve all been in a situation in which we needed help.

Despite that, many of “US” (Black/African American) people feel some sort of discomfort when they have to ask for assistance, be it for something personal, in a work environment, or even just to ask for directions, and especially THERAPY. This phenomenon led to a stigma surrounding mental health and therapy, which has proven to be detrimental for most people and their mental wellbeing.

However, in recent years there’s been a shift in the way we perceive therapy entirely. I am noticing in my practice and requests from my colleagues more and more of us are starting to seek help and specifically from a Black/African American therapist. Though we are rare and hard to find we are here. I encourage more of us to seek therapy and request a Black therapist if you so desire. WHY? Well, the more we are requested the more agencies will make it a point to hire more, and offer incentives to us in the same way they do for those who speak a different language.

Now back to asking for help. Understand that it’s never a bad idea to take care of yourself and ask for help when you need to. Keeping this in mind, I’m including some facts as to just how common therapy has gotten in the last few years and why.

The Numbers

One in four people in the world experiences at least one diagnosable health problem throughout their life, and roughly one in every eight receives some sort of mental health treatment. This number is almost double compared to that from ten years ago, which is a positive fact considering that around the same number of people have had mental issues then and now.

Depression has been the leading mental health diagnosis for the last few years, with it affecting roughly 11% of the population, or around 792 million people. Here is where we should mention one very important thing about mental health: around half of all lifetime illnesses start by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 24. These are some very crucial and pivotal ages, where stressors shift as we embark on a new journey. Typically, at age 14 we are entering high school and 24 many are finishing undergrad, starting careers, making big life choices about family, living alone, etc. Asking for help for these age groups are particularly difficult for very understandable reasons. The adolescent developmentally is at a stage where the communication with parents often decreases, and they begin to try and take on many challenges they face on their own. The 24-year-old, well the subconscious expectations of needing to have things all figured out as an adult is running wild. Asking for help is often the last thing on their mind.

Although this might sound scary at first, we can use this knowledge to our advantage by being more mindful of this age group and taking care of their mental health in the very beginning. How, by encouraging open communication in the home early and allowing therapy to be an option. We as Blacks/African Americans must remove the stigma that therapy is not for us.

A positive statistic concerning this statement is that younger people are much more likely to seek help actively when they are encouraged and made to feel that asking for help is acceptable. The number of people under the age of 35 that are not only okay with getting mental health care but are intently searching for it is way higher than that of older generations, and this is definitely a step in the right direction.


Most people start this journey because of something specific – either an event or newly formed feelings or thoughts. Although they might not be able to explain exactly how this is affecting them, they realize that something has changed and have decided to seek help. Another reason why people go to therapy is to get advice on self-discovery or personal relationships. This is connected with the fact that it’s always helpful to have an objective and well-informed opinion on something that troubles you, especially if you’re unsure how to fix the problem yourself.

Others start going to a psychologist because they’ve noticed their health is getting worse with seemingly no reason – maybe they’re having trouble sleeping or feel out of breath, perhaps their immune system is down, and they feel stressed all the time. We have come to know these physical manifestations as Anxiety or Insomnia. Whatever it is, they’ve noticed something is up with the way their body usually is and want to understand why this is happening.

More importantly, not all inciting reasons are negative. Some people start going to therapy to become the best version of themselves and become more confident – they see going to a psychologist as a boost to their lives in the direction they’re aiming for. I repeat…Its ok to ask for help and invest in upgrading yourself with the help of a professional, you don’t have to have something wrong with you.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of the specific occasion people go to therapy for, they have shared that taking care of themselves in this way has had a positive effect on some aspects of their life and their future.

Despite the different reasons and outcomes, therapy is a good idea for most people because it is strictly individual and, as such, can help with pretty much anything. It has become a common part of the lives of more and more people that want to change themselves for the better and have a deeper understanding of themselves, better connections to others, a more positive view of the world and their place in it.

Are you ready? Have you been thinking of asking for help and have no idea how to get started? I am happy to assist.

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