In many cultures therapy is not considered a viable or effective option as a means of dealing with maladaptive behaviors. In many cultures it is considered ridiculous if not absurd to seek to solve mental issues through therapy. In these cultures, the consensus is how is it by talking to someone rather than “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” or talking to someone is going to help you solve a real problem?
In the United States specifically in minority communities seeking help from a therapist is frowned upon and considered weak. Particularly in the African American and Latino communities. As a result, these communities, rarely professional help when it comes to psychologically charged issues. Men as a result are the gender who do not seek help at a higher number. Those men who do seek help find themselves ostracized and ridiculed if they share the fact that they are in therapy with their friends or associates. Because of this reluctance to seek professional mental help these men, in particular, and their families and relatives suffer.
There is a higher crime rate and incidence of violence experienced in lower socioeconomic minority communities. More and more individuals suffer trauma. This trauma, often times, goes untreated due to individuals’ reluctance to seek professional help. These untreated individuals, often times, are the perpetrators of domestic violence, random acts of violence and other crimes against individuals. Untreated mental illness, including trauma and victimization, are time bombs that often result in devastating damage to individuals and communities.
As a mental health professional I strongly encourage those who have experienced trauma or find themselves in distress mentally seek out professional help. We must as friends and family encourage each other to initiate the process of mental healing. This can be positively influenced by our attitudes and views about therapy in general. It is vital that we normalize mental health care as opposed to stigmatizing it. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.