Black people have found ways to cope with racism, traumas and the BBQ Beckys of the world. One of those ways, you ask?
Many African Americans have joined churches to deal with stressful racial profiling incidents, which have skyrocketed in recent months. The coping mechanism has proven effective as worshippers have reported less mental health issues, according to a recently published study. Churchgoers are less likely to suffer from depression, psychological distress and post-traumatic stress disorder, University of Michigan and Case Western Reserve University researchers said in a report published in the Journal of Community Psychology.
Black parishioners are also less likely to struggle with suicidal thoughts, according to the “Church and Family Support Networks and Depressive Symptoms Among African Americans: Findings from The National Survey of American Life” study.
Researchers surveyed 3,000 African Americans, whose ages ran the gamut from 18 to 93, for the report. They also examined associations between emotional support from church members and support from extended family members, researchers said.
In finding support to confront various traumas, worshippers have also begun fighting the stigma and culture of silence linked to mental health within the Black church, the Washington Informer reported. Some churches make available actual counseling and other resources to confront mental health problems instead of opting only for prayer and more spiritual ways to confront issues. It is a combination of methods that is often used to help African American churchgoers deal with traumas, not ignore them.
Parishioners can be encouraged to talk about what’s on their minds and hearts with other churchgoers in a house of worship, which is typically viewed as a non-judgemental setting. The support systems established in churches, as well as families, has contributed to healthier lives for many African Americans, studies have shown.