Black College Students and Mental Health

black college students hbcu mental health Aug 22, 2022

A young person's life can be exciting when they start college, but it can also be stressful. 

You're alone and thrown into a strange place where you might not know anyone or find anything you recognize. You are now in charge of doing your own room cleaning, cooking or purchasing your own meals, and attending all of your classes on time.

Negative emotions or mental health illnesses like depression and anxiety may result from these and other problems. We often focus on the mental health of adults, but neglect to address that children and teens/young adults often experience mental health issues and they often go unaddressed unfortunately. According to the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network, 50%of Black students receive no mental health education prior to college. 

In the same report, they also state that compared to White students, students of color:

  • Report higher rates of emotional distress in their freshman year and of keeping their difficulties to themselves
  • Have similar rates of mental illnesses, like depression and anxiety
  • Demonstrated lower treatment, even after controlling for other variables
  • Stigma, reluctance to seek help for mental health needs, and cultural mistrust of mental health professionals are barriers that often lead to suffering in silence

Students who are Black have a higher risk of acquiring a mental health disorder due to the added strain of racism, financial concerns, and academic pressure.

The recent wave of racial injustices, combined with the pandemic, simply makes this likelihood even more likely. These problems go misdiagnosed and untreated for many Black students.

The way a student handles their mental health symptoms can have an impact on both their academic and social development.

However, there is hope. Parents, start now addressing the importance of having a good mental health balance while being young and Black in America. There’s nothing wrong with kids speaking to someone outside of the home with any unfamiliar emotions that they are experiencing and should be encouraged. We were all young once, and know how uncomfortable it can be to discuss certain topics with our parents.

Start now!


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