With the current political and social events regarding racial tensions, many have begun to wonder about minority groups’ mental health. Seeking therapy is nothing to be ashamed of and more people should be encouraged to not ignore their psychological problems. Luckily, a multitude of mental health professionals have dedicated a good portion of their work “to treat people of color, women and people in distress.
Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Seeking Therapy
Asha Tarry is a mental health practitioner and certified life coach who owns a private practice that works to treat mental health disorders and coaching professional adults to design the life that they want to live. She consults on special projects including maternal mental health, mindfulness in the workplace, and mental illness treatment and prevention.
Out of New York, most of her clients are working professional adults in the millennial age range of 24 to 38 years old. 98% of them are people of color and 97% are women which goes to show that BIPOC do seek help when needed even though it presents certain challenges. Tarry says the majority of her clients seek therapy to treat mood disorders, anxiety, and depression. When uncovering their family history, she has noticed a predominant feature is the existence of some form of trauma.
Working with mostly women and people of color, she has learned that they are usually the first person in the family to have sought treatment voluntarily. This presents a multitude of complex feelings navigating new terrain, taking what they are learning in therapy, and applying it to their lives and relationships. They learn to create boundaries which might cause stress and present new challenges.
Mental and medical health are interconnected. What you experience psychologically tends to manifest in your body. Tarry has seen patients with serious medical conditions who over a period of time committed to therapy have seen improvement with chronic illnesses, less physical pain, less anxiety, or improved sleep.
Building Professional Relationships
According to Tarry, there is an increasing number of people of color who have sought treatment and stuck with it. This is mostly happening because of their relationships. “As a psychotherapist, what we learn in our training is if the relationship between client and therapist is one where the client can be seen and regarded in their humanity, it can transform the person and the symptoms,” assures the mental health professional.
As a practitioner of color treating people of various backgrounds, she finds great success when the relationship is one the client can build trust in. The science behind people of color having less success in therapy has a lot to do with not finding a good fit, cultural differences, and limited number of services due to insurance, among others.
“Young people,” believes Tarry, “are the ones taking the risk to seek out help and talk about their mental health in social media more openly than previous generations.” Mental health is now being seen as an extension of self-development as opposed to the shame elders used to feel.
Asha Tarry is one of the many mental health practitioners advocating for BIPOC and their access to mental health treatments. In this time and age, no person should be ashamed of seeking treatment and help. On the contrary, everyone should have access to a professional who will respectfully listen to them and treat their illness–whether it be mental or physical. If we continue to speak up on topics like this, people will feel more comfortable when reaching out for help.