Mental Health in the Black Community: Crisis & Prioritizing Well-being

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Updated: Aug 31, 2023
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The Tragic Incident of Antwan Rose Jr.

An editorial article deriving from USA Today published on September 14, 2018, articulates police killings (brutality damaging the mental health of black communities). Seventeen-year-old Antwan Rose Jr, a defenseless African American male, was murdered by a Caucasian law enforcement officer while fleeing from a car that was stationary. Antwan Rose Jr. took a blow to the head by Officer Michel Rosenfeld, who was also fairly new to the force. That triggered a series of riots throughout the Pittsburgh area; enormous amounts of living souls came together to mourn the loss of Antwan Rose Jr, with a plethora of “Black Lives Matter” signs well demonstrated along with the clamoring for “No Justice, No Peace.

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Sociological Analysis of Racial Discrimination

From distinction sociological perspective, racial discrimination happens to be a surface component in this confrontation and misconduct. African American males are the primary target at this time and misfortune in the black community. “One thousand and one- hundred killings by police and found that the death rates for African Americans were disproportionately higher than their populations.” (Zimring, 2015).

Trust Issues with the Police

In the urban population, there is a lack of trust when it comes to the police, which can cause many feelings, such as anxiety, timidness, and sometimes even panic. The foul play aligned with Trayvon Martin (unarmed, amid a physical exchange) and Sandra Bland (pulled over for a traffic violation) are exhibits of unreasonable regulation. The above-mentioned are just a few examples of police killings and brutality damaging the Mental Health of Black Communities. “Recent calls to treat police killings as a public health issue” was established by Boston University and the University of Pennsylvania. I believe that when police are trained, they need detailed mental health, past violent history, and impecuniosity behaviors.

Mental Health Stigmas in Black Communities

Mental health is taboo in black communities. Most of the time, it’s not taken as seriously as it should be. According to The Department of Health and Human Services
“African-Americans are 20% more likely to report having serious psychological distress than non-Hispanic whites”. Mental illness isn’t a choice but is looked over in black communities, we are automatically given the title of being strong-willed or handled as we need help, but often African Americans are just not speaking up or seeking the proper help that they need. Lack of proper insight and confusion about mental health can cause fear. The fear of not knowing can scare anyone. Most of the time, denial is a huge part of accepting that this may be a serious issue that needs to be looked into. African Americans face more austere patterns of mental health situations due to the fact that they do not have much information on the subject. Sometimes black communities are poor and might not have the best resources on hand. Locating a good provider and getting the proper diagnosis and treatment would make a difference.

Police Training and Racial Bias

When developing certain training tactics that should include holding officers liable for their actions in a pellucid manner, a legitimate valuation of using unnecessary force should be avoided if possible. Being able to be provided with internal constitutional guidance focusing on policing could help with the increasing of lawsuits being filed. Pieces of training also need to incorporate inanimate racial biases when it comes time to deal with an African American man. Me, I feel that the approaching officer might sense a greater deal of fear when dealing with a Black man than any other race, which can also result in the officer proceeding antagonistically when encountering an African American man as opposed to coming face to face with someone of the opposite race.

Additionally, police officers need to be skilled in how to be convinced to think that using their firearm is the only option that they have left to use. There are many other alternatives that could be of choice when in a situation, such as a baton, capsicum spray, taser gun, handcuffs, police mace, and a police knife. They are also provided with a shotgun and Glock pistol. These two should be their last resort when it comes to de-escalating a tense situation.

It’s sad to say that in order for change this transformation to occur, the human race will have to be willing to try. It shouldn’t have to take multiple senseless killings for this to happen or for police officers to recondition their training. The connection between police and communication has been lost signify. Police killings have been a vicious cycle for a while now, which all could have been bypassed if there wasn’t so much tension between police and the African American population.


  1. Zimring, F. E., & Laqueur, H. (2015). Kids, groups, and crime: In defense of conventional wisdom. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 52(3), 403–413. 
  2. Buehler, J. W. (2017). Racial/ethnic disparities in the use of lethal force by US police, 2010–2014. American Journal of Public Health, 107(2), 295-297. This article discusses racial disparities in police use of lethal force. 2019.
  3. Alang, S., McAlpine, D., McCreedy, E., & Hardeman, R. (2017). Police brutality and black health: Setting the agenda for public health scholars. American Journal of Public Health, 107(5), 662-665.


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Mental Health in the Black Community: Crisis & Prioritizing Well-being. (2023, Jun 18). Retrieved from