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Therapists see rise in Black clients despite stigmas faced in Black communities

Posted at 10:20 PM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-02 22:20:13-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla (WTXL) — "I'm seeing a trend upwards where people in the African American communities are now seeking more mental health services."

Drake Gunning has been a therapist for almost a decade. He said because of stigmas surrounding mental health black people are more hesitant when seeking the proper resources.

"Growing up as African Americans we're used to keeping everything in-house within the family."

According to Gunning, some people were taught to pray about their issues and speak to their pastor but over the years this has changed.

"I'm now finding even pastors call me to say hey I've gone as far as I can go with this member can you provide therapy to them."

Gunning feels that today's climate has been so overwhelming and exhausting that more black clients are seeking help but he's not the only therapist feeling this way.

"It's pretty exhausting."

Chelynn Randolph specializes in stress, anxiety and depression.

She said she noticed her clients are tired of dealing with racism in the workplace along with the overall battles of being black in America and their seeking therapy to manage their stress.

"It just makes you tired and could feel like nothing's going to change."

Randolph said from last year to now more people are realizing therapy is about your everyday wellness and it's just like going to the doctor.

"I would say a lot of black Americans specifically grew up thinking you only go see a therapist if your suicidal or maybe you have a severe mental health problem."

Randolph says her goal is to continue to break that stigma and she feels good seeing more clients that look like her are seeking the help they need.

"Therapy is a tool to help your family, either come together if it's couples therapy you know your working towards creating a better relationship with one another and that therapist are just there to help."

Both Gunning and Randolph recommend if you're overwhelmed with work or having difficulty handling stress here are a few tips to help you get through the day

  1. Set boundaries for personal and work relationships
  2. Journal your thoughts and feelings
  3. Deep breathing
  4. Consider self-care practices that make you feel better