This paper articulates the importance of African Americans regarding mental health: how they obtain information, lack of available resources, internal and external pressures of receiving help, and the gathering of their information from non-traditional sources in comparison to traditional. Historically, the community has faced stereotypical pressures, which they actively fight against to be viewed as equal. After segregation being abolished and many sources and organizations offering support for many different races, there is still an imbalance in what is offered and available for African Americans. A mix of current and dated studies and texts will be highlighted to discover findings, notate critical gaps of information, and create a discussion. Information has been gathered using databases such as National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), PsychNet, Science Direct, as well as organizations focusing on mental health like National Alliance of Mental Illnesses and Mental Health America (MHA). Through this search, smaller organizations named the Association for Black Psychologists, HBCU Center for Excellence in Behavior Health, and BlackGirlsSmile were found. The organization, BlackGrilsSmile, was created in response to the lack of available resources for African Americans and females in terms of mental health. Larger organizations like the National Alliance of Mental Illnesses have created a symposium in 2004 focusing on African Americans and mental illnesses and recovery, to close the gap. The resulting findings indicate that while there have been advances made towards creating more resources and support in mental health awareness for the African American community, it is imperative to form an understanding of what African Americans face with limited resources due to racism, discrimination, poverty, the social climate, and even the community itself.

About Author

Stephanie has a BA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in Music from Hollins University. She is certified to teach Piano and English as a Second Language. She was a grant researcher/writer intern at Hampton Roads Academy, and volunteered in various places including the Norfolk Botanical Garden’s library before becoming employed with the Norfolk Public Library. Stephanie is currently a Library Associate II and is working towards her MLIS at San Jose State University.