mental health Sundays #2 - the intersection of mental illness and race: bipolar disorder

“Having Bipolar II and being the only person of color in my family is very difficult. I constantly get passed off as the “Mad Black Woman.” Everything gets blamed on hypomania or depression, even when I’m not actively cycling through an episode.

It also makes me even more likely to be targeted by police. Black people and Bipolar patients already have over double chance to be victims of violence (particularly police violence) than their counterparts, but when you combine them...I live in fear every time I even get into a car. It shouldn’t be this way. I carry a card with me that states my disorder just in case anything ever happens.” - @rainbow.freeman

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HEY EVERYONE! This post was important for me to share because I’d like to remind all of you that mental health does not exist in a vacuum. Though all of our struggles and experiences are important, the fact of the matter is that intersections such as gender, sexuality, ethnicity, social class, citizenship status, disability, religion, and ESPECIALLY race have an impact on our safety and access to treatment. Black people have been murdered during wellness checks. The fact that the police are called to deal with mental health crises is not only a massive flaw in the system, but actually ENDANGERS the lives of Black individuals struggling with their mental health. This is why I find most discussion centering around mental health phony. These issues MUST be addressed. Telling people to “just reach out” or “talk about it” is ignorant when so many people can lose their lives if they do so.

I also want to add: the timing of this post is purely coincidental, as I had scheduled it long before the events of this week. This is important to note because this stuff is going on ALL THE TIME, EVERY SINGLE DAY whether it’s filmed or posted on social media or not. - Debbie