‘The Conversation’: Expert help on mental health issues in trying times

The Conversation

 COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The emotional rollercoaster of the Breonna Taylor case, the pandemic, the loss of a loved one, or a job, it’s got a lot of people sitting on the edge feeling like they have no hope.

Experts say anxiety and depression are just a couple of things that can set in during times like this and if you’re trying to deal with these emotions on your own – don’t. 

NBC4 Anchor Darlene Hill spoke with Jummy Olawale, a licensed counselor about mental health issues in the Black community.

“This year has been really awful for us, we’re talking about George Floyd and just recently Breonna Taylor, we’re dealing with the pandemic and it just feels like we can’t catch a break. So what my sense is personally and in the work that I do is that we are struggling,” said Olawale.

Olawale followed up with some things you might notice if you are struggling with mental health issues, and what to do if you find yourself having these emotions.

“These things are having a real detrimental effect on our mental health and so you may notice you’re more irrational, you may notice you have a little less patience, you may notice that you are stressed out, you may notice you have no motivation and so just starting by being accepting and saying, ‘ Yes, this is how I feel and that it’s OK,'” explained Olawale.

When asked about the difficulties in the Black community about admitting there are some mental health issues, Olawale encourages people to seek outside help.

“My thing is that you take prayer, take therapy and sometimes even medication and that is a brilliant combination,” stated Olawale. “So yes, you have friends and family members that may listen to you but sometimes there are these blind spots we may have these other things we may need to delve deeper into.”

On the issue of Black people living in Black communities experiencing PTSD, Olawale agreed it’s not only soldiers who have to deal with the condition.

“This thing is a real thing and it does have an impact on the way it shows up in our lives,” confirmed Olawale. “It has an impact on the way we parent our children, it has a way we do ourselves in relationships, it has an impact on how we show up on our jobs. Dealing with trauma is not just something you can wave off like, ‘Oh you know, everything will be OK.’ It may look like things are OK but the body remembers.”

The counselor says something we can all do right now if things are sitting kind of heavy for you, take a break from social media, be in your moment and if you need, seek professional help.

“The Conversation” continues tonight on NBC4 at 7:30 p.m. Join Dalene Hill, Matt Barnes and Kerry Charles for a discussion about voting rights and reaction to last night’s presidential debate. You can watch it on-air and online at NBC4i.com.

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