As Americans’ opinions about counseling continue to trend more positively, the church has room to improve its efforts to eliminate the tension between faith and mental healthcare.
Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, licensed psychologist and host of the “Therapy for Black Girls” podcast, said she has seen a bit of progress in that area.
“I’ve been encouraged to see more and more faith communities talk about the fact that you can have faith and a therapist,” she said. “You can talk to your pastor and talk to a therapist. So that’s encouraging, but I think we still have a long way to go.”
Obstacles that prevent African Americans from seeking professional help can include miseducation about mental health, belief that mental illnesses are punishment from God, or shame associated with admitting to needing help, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Musician Anthony Evans has no shame when talking about his experience with therapy.