Mental health as a professional and academic field has been riddled with controversial issues in human nature, gender differences, income disparities, and other major social divides throughout its history in the United States, though most modern practitioners and advocates can be pleased with the progress that has taken place in these areas over the past several years. While a strong percentage of therapists and other professionals are likely to suspect that issues in racial discrimination have largely or even entirely been abolished, a professor of psychiatry and women’s studies has recently released a statement along with a book about the ongoing issue of the mis-diagnosis of schizophrenia among black men.
The professor notes that black men are up to four times as likely to be mis-diagnosed with schizophrenia than those of other ethnic backgrounds, an issue that likely stems from popular ideas about the nature of mental illness in general and schizophrenia in particular during the civil rights movement in the US. Black men who were involved in protests and other actions were often institutionalized, and various personality traits were then associated with schizophrenia as a mental health concern.
Though modern understanding of schizophrenia and other mental health issues has become considerably more advanced since the mid-19th century, the professor suggests that certain prejudices and false ideas about the black male demographic among mental health professionals has ensured that this artifact of discrimination remains prevalent within today’s community. Of special concern is the tendency to place many of these men in prisons rather than in dedicated mental health care settings. His work calls for a closer examination of the issue and an awakening of the community at large.
© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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