The stigma against mental illness, depression and suicide within the Black community tends to enforce fears and stereotypes that keep people from getting the help they need. Black people in general tend to be overly religious. Everything is a sin so how can you talk about it. The church sweeps stuff under the rug as though all problems can be prayed away. They can’t.
Everybody thinks that if they pray over you, slap you with some anointing oil or speak to some supposed demon you may have that solves the problem. No. Troubled Depressed people need professional help and should not be stigmatized for speaking up and speaking out.
The only difference between myself and Don Cornelious is that I did not succeed in any of my attempts. Mental illness runs in my family on both sides. My mother Mable Elizabeth Palmer tried to kill herself in front of we children sometime around 1969 or 1970. She just wanted the pain to end. Later when it was my turn I wanted the paid and suffering to end.
It’s sad that mental illness, depression and suicide are labeled as sins and those of us who suffer are ostracized by the community and the Black Church. Mental illness is often genetic triggered by puberty, a tragic event, a traumatic event or a chronic physical illness. However in the Black Church they still blame unseen devils and demons left over from the Dark Age. Any minute now I expect the church to return to the archaic methods used during these times to determine who was a witch or a warlock. It may sound funny but I’ve heard things come out preachers mouths that made you think mental illness is a concoction of best sellers and Hollywood movies.
Mental illness is an ongoing battle you fight every day. And every day you wake up in this world is a win but if you do wake up on the other side I believe it’s because God has mercy on troubled souls.