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Black contributions to mental health.


February is Black History Month.

During Black History Month, it is imperative to remember and honor the enormous contributions of Black mental health experts and advocates. They have not only expanded our understanding and treatment of mental health disorders, but their pioneering study has also addressed the particular difficulties that Black communities encounter.

Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller —

was a prominent pioneer in the field of psychiatry. He was the United States’ first African American psychiatrist, born in Liberia in 1872. He made an important contribution to the early understanding of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Fuller’s work at Boston University School of Medicine, where he worked closely with Alois Alzheimer, established the path for future research on neurodegenerative illnesses and stressed the critical role of inclusion in scientific inquiry.  

Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark and her husband, Dr. Kenneth Clark–

conducted the important “doll test” research. These research proved how segregation harmed African American children’s sense of self, influencing the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which desegregated public schools.Dr. Clark’s work highlights how mental health advocacy can motivatesocial change and provides an excellent example of the connection between psychology and social justice. 

Clark, K.B., and Clark, M.P. (1950). Racial identification and preference in Negro children.In T. M. Newcomb and E. L. Hartley (Eds.), Readings in Social Psychology (pp. 169–178), New York: Holt.  

Dr. Bebe Moore Campbell

a well-known author and journalist, has contributed to raising awareness of mental health concerns in minority communities by emphasizing the Black community’s mental health needs.The National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month began in July, due in part to her advocacy, which raised public awareness and provided assistance to marginalized people. 

“72 Hour Hold” is one of her books on navigating mental illness in the family.  

Dr. Joy DeGruy’s–

 research on Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome (PTSS) has shed light on the long-term psychological effects of racism and enslavement on African Americans.Her research underscores the importance of culturally applicable mental health interventions to combat the effects of past trauma. 

“Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing.”  

These are just a few of the many Black professionals whose work have had a significant impact on the field of mental health. Their work encourages more accessible and equitable mental health treatments while simultaneously improving scientific and clinical understanding. 

In recognition of Black History Month, let us commit to work toward a mental health care system that truly addresses racial disparities so as to properly recognize these achievements.  

By acknowledging and publicizing these innovators’ accomplishments, we can work toward a future where mental health services are readily accessible,responsive of Black people’s needs, and respectful of what they endured. 

Reflecting on all of these achievements increases our capacity for resilience and highlights the importance of representation.It stresses the necessity of ongoing advocating to ensure everyone has equitable access to mental health services.This is the fundamental and ongoing mission of CCD.




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