Mental Health Event In Philly Helps Ease Stigma for African-Americans

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“We’ve proven that we can be resilient as a people, we just need the access to mental health services that help us fully heal,” Allen said Although mental wellness is essential in order to live a full, productive life, many mental health challenges are ignored or never diagnosed. Fully embracing the concept of wellness not only improves health in the mind, body and spirit but also maximizes one’s potential to lead a full and productive life, said Wilson.

“We have more tolerance for folks who have to go to the emergency room because their blood pressure is too high, but those who have mental health issues or experience a relapse are often harshly judged,” he said. Deborah McCoy, 26, a Philadelphia native now living in New York City, knows first hand that those affected by mental health issues need a strong support system to heal. After watching her brother try to readjust to life after imprisonment, she insisted that the entire family seek counseling.

Although McCoy’s brother wasn’t open to the idea of going to therapy, once she got him to commit to a session she watched his entire world change.

“It was the first time he had an opportunity to shed his mask, let down his guard and address his feelings with the support of his family,” she said. “It was also the first time I realized what my father meant when he said the most important thing I could ever do was love a black man… loving my brother enough to help him seek healing was a life-changing experience for my entire family.”

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