Black Community in the Mental Health Field (My Experience)

Even though more people of color have been entering the clinical psychology/counseling field it is still predominantly white. In all of my classes I am one of few people of color. Sometimes it’s rough being the only black person or one of few, its kind of feels like I do not belong in the field or like I am in the wrong place. That’s why I am glad when I meet another black graduate student or professional in the field who welcomes me. I have met only a few black people in the field but every time there is a sense of automatic solidarity and understanding. Within minutes we talk about why we entered the field, our past/current work/accomplishments, and our struggles of being in a predominantly white field and feeling like we don’t belong. There is genuine excitement and support from people who I just met. I can see the excitement in their eyes when we talk about our visions/goals and find commonalities. I also sense their passion, which is so motivating and reminder that it’s not only me here.

Normally I am a person who do not typically open up to people quickly, I selectively pick what I tell people. When I first meet people, I am usually quiet and shy. For some reason, during these encounters, I feel safe enough to talk and reveal more about myself. There is a genuine bonding and exchanging of positive energy. Receiving genuine support without people trying to use me, steal my ideas, or dim my life is always a great feeling. There are also amazing learning experiences. So far, I have received so much helpful information I never knew I needed. It feels great to be welcomed to a community so quickly and to be forming connections. We also sometimes hang out causally so it’s not like we only work or talk about schoolwork. These sincere encounters affirm why I am in this field, not only to help future clients with their mental and emotional well-being but also to connect with other people like me in the field to normalize black people being in the clinical psychology/counseling field and to normalized therapy in the black community.

Sidenote: So far all of my experiences have been positive. There is a possibility that I could have some negative experiences in the future. If they do occur, I plan to not let them get to me and focusing on the good experiences.

Time to Focus on You:

What types of connections are you making in your field and/or life with other people?

Photo by Rawpixel on Unsplash

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12 thoughts on “Black Community in the Mental Health Field (My Experience)”

  1. Interesting post… I never realized the mental health field was predominately white. Then again despite my mental health history, I don’t have a whole lot of experience actually seeking professional counsel in a formal setting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I recently heard an interview on NPR by a black woman in your field who talked about how 1) access to care and 2) the ability of white counselors to effectively assist the black community were key motivators for her. I wish I could remember her name. I’d never thought about those aspects but could relate, in a way, due to being raised in a sub-culture where mental health was not discussed and counseling considered “not an option.” I think its gotten better over the years, but there is still so much to do to make it “ok” to pursue mental health support, and to improve access and service. Thanks to you for entering this field and writing about it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading! 😄 if you remember her name, let me know. Yea there has been great improvements and still more work to be done/being done

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  3. I thought you post was very intriguing. I’m not in the mental health field myself and the closest I can do anything near mental health would be counseling for my son who has ADHD. I do feel there are a lot of fields in which there are predominantly white people. But that’s been the testimony for along time. Black people have to work harder sometimes to prove themselves or sometimes they tend to shy away in their field because they feel less than because of their skin color and their surrounded by others who are not their color. But we have to break the mold and pour ourselves into every side of the fence. My husband has been the only black person in his job arena for quite some time and the youngest. But he has not let it change him. You gift will make room for you in any field no matter your color. I just feel that when we look at things and draw out the color factor we may lose sight or some great opportunities. I loved your article and that you shared you experience I hope that you don’t encounter the frustration or bad experience that you think you might encounter.

    Liked by 1 person

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