Black Youth Mental Health Matters
Updated: Jan 26, 2022
The communication about Black Mental Health is rarely talked about in this day or time. Using my own personal experiences, I have linked childhood trauma to the state of my mental health as an adult. Growing up in an African American home, I was never once asked about my mental health. Instead we were instilled trauma for speaking up. We were punished for trying to express how we feel. In our community, it is not a child's place to question an adult nor speak up. Now I am not supporting the disrespectful nature that some kids have towards their parents, but what about the kids who just needed to explain their side without judgement? What about the kids who are currently fighting mental battles from different circumstances, (bullying, family molestation, abuse, etc.) How are we expecting these kids to use their voice, if they are being silenced by their parents/peers at a young age. How do we expect these kids to use their voice if they are being beaten (the main way African Americans discipline their children) by belts, switches, extension cords, shoes, etc. When will we realize that this form of discipline instills fear and anger into our children. Idk about y'all, but "whoopings" never helped me with any type of discipline. It just turned me into an even angrier individual. We have to expand our minds and understand that this form of discipline psychologically has no good effects on the Mental Health of our Youth. I believe that if we begin to just talk to our children, listen to understand, stop enforcing these horrible disciplinary actions, then maybe we will realize that our Youth are just younger versions of ourselves trying to understand the world. When your boss yells at you at work, how does it make you feel? Do you feel humiliated? Do you feel belittled? Do you feel angry? Whatever way you feel, you have to understand that the youth have those feelings too. We have have to understand that the first step to creating a good mental health foundation for the youth, is determined by the simple ways that we parent. We have to allow our Youth to speak their minds. Have we ever sat down and asked the youth, what made them turn to the streets? What made them turn to drugs? What made them act out in the first place? Maybe we will then understand as a whole that we are the problem. Being labeled as a "troubled youth" my whole life significantly shaped the way I saw myself and my mental health. Little did these people know, I was bullied everyday until my 11th grade year in high school. I turned into an angry individual who felt the need to fight others for respect. Not because I was troubled, but because no one saw me for who I really was. No one treated me like a person, my feelings did not matter, my voice did not matter. Not feeling like my mother would understand or listen just led me to keep silent. Fighting the battle alone. This led me to the thought of suicide at a very young age. I am 25 years old and I have finally found my voice. Imagine if I would have found my voice at a younger age. I would have had the courage to speak up and help the people around me. I speak for the Youth who are currently going through the same thing. We have to break the generational trauma of not allowing our kids to speak, Break the chains on the way we discipline. Kids do not come out the womb understanding the significance of the "rules of the world." It is up to us as parents to teach them these things. Teach them to have a voice. Teach them to speak up. We have to learn to listen to one another, to love one another, to uplift one another. Listen to your kids, stop trying to force the normal rules of society onto them. Study them and embrace them. Teach them to use their voice. Spread love instead of anger and hate. Communicate instead of yelling and being angry. If you ever want to really understand the way your words/actions affect your kids, buy two plants. Tell one plant you hate it everyday, or simply just yell at it, and tell the other plant that you love it everyday. Watch the significance of growth between the two plants. The results will blow your mind. As always be kind to one another and love one another. Listen to each other, and always spread love. Black Youth Mental Health Matters.
"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do" ~Albert Einstein
Your friendly Neighborhood Writer,