THE MENTAL WELLBEING OF BLACK WOMEN
THE THESIS PUBLICATION
As a young Black girl, I grew up watching the women in my family take on many roles: single mother, caregiver, community leader, teacher, and provider. They possessed the creative ability to find ways to care for their own lives along with everyone else’s; they were resilient —women who persisted even in the face of stress because that’s what Strong Black Women do. This cultural expectation that extended beyond my family circle is what eventually designed a mask of strength, a covering up of my depression with no space to admit my struggles and a lack of compassionate support within my community for appropriate care.
Published Spring 2017, my Social Design thesis, The Mental Wellbeing of Black Women, addresses the undertreatment of depression and mental illness bias and discrimination. I looked closely at the statistics as well as the personal stories, wanting to gain a deeper understanding into why at least 60 percent of Black women are experiencing symptoms of depression yet remain one of the most undertreated and undersupported groups.
The design research process, including in-depth interviews, insights, and prototyping, focused on ways faith leaders and mental health professionals could collaboratively cultivate a more compassionate culture supporting the mental wellbeing and holistic healing of the Black women they serve.
If you are working within a faith-based or mental health institution and want to engage leaders, practitioners and community members in creative dialogue about the state of Black women’s wellbeing and opportunities for change, I’d love to have a conversation.