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Crosscurrents

Interview: Dr. Loma Flowers on mental health care in the black community

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Alyssa Kapnik Samuel
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Dr. Loma Flowers

In many African-American communities, mental health issues have a history of being under-treated and under-diagnosed.

According to the federal government's Office of Minority Health, African-Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population – but for a number of reasons, including lack of access and limited insurance options – they're less likely to seek treatment. But there's also something less concrete: there's a stigma attached to needing mental health care in the first place.

KALW's Leila Day talks with local psychiatrist Dr. Loma Flowers about the reasons why many in the black community may still resist therapy.

DR. LOMA FLOWERS: African Americans have had a difficult time in the U.S. in general and vulnerability was very dangerous; any kind of vulnerability could get swept into that. You had to take care of it within the family. You had to feel safe.

To hear the full story, listen to the audio player above.

Leila Day is a Senior Producer at Pineapple Street Media and is the Executive Producer and co-host of The Stoop Podcast, stories about the black diaspora. Her work has been featured on NPR, 99% Invisible, the BBC as well as other outlets. Before The Stoop, she was an editor at Al Jazeera's podcast network and worked on creating and editing award winning narrative driven journalism. She began her career in journalism at KALW where she worked as a health care and criminal justice reporter. During that time she contributed as an editor, taught audio storytelling to inmates at San Quentin, and helped develop curriculum for training upcoming reporters.