Push for more accessible mental health resources heightens in Black community

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With the recent sudden death of the dancer and reality TV star Stephen “DJ tWitch” Boss, conversations about mental health have increased.

State Representative Angie Nixon felt compelled to speak up about a tragedy that hit her family just one week before DJ tWitch took his life.

In a tweet, Nixon told her followers that she lost her sister to suicide in early December. Nixon also had to baker act a loved one.

Nixon said people can help address issues similar to what she’s experienced by aggressively advocating for free to low-cost mental health services, especially for marginalized communities.

News4JAX spoke to a mental health counselor who said her clients in the Black community often cancel or don’t show up for appointments because “mental health is not a priority.”

Melanie Mickey said her clients often tell her that they have bills to pay or have too much going on to dedicate to their mental health.

Mickey described socioeconomic disparities prevent many people in the Black community from getting help.

Nixon also tweeted about the stigma:

“The disparities between African American women, what I’ve noticed is that when they do come into therapy and outpatient, they don’t really have a family support system for their mental health,” Mickey said. “I think in African American culture, it’s still stigmatized.”

After learning about Dj tWitch’s death, Nixon sent a message to the Black community encouraging people to “ask for help.”

Mickey said a therapist is just as important as having a primary doctor. She also said that the holidays can be tough for people struggling with mental health.

“I think what happens is people who struggle with depression, anxiety, any kind of mood disorders, the holidays exacerbate that,” Mickey said.

News4JAX does not assume this was the case for Nixon’s sister or tWitch. These are common scenarios seen by mental health counselors.

If you are dealing with any mental health issues, reach out to the following sources below:

About the Author:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad