By Isheka Harrison

“Can you be black and depressed?” When that question was posed by one of my college classmates on Facebook, some people thought it was a no-brainer.

She got responses like, “Of course!” “Absolutely!” and even side eye emojis.

However when Tiffany Belton wrote that, I knew her question was really a statement.

And Belton confirmed it when she posted in the comments:

“… According to my timeline, you can’t. … I know better but I want to know WHY people think like this?! … Serious question. People seem to think that we’re made of stone and that the hardships of our past have made us resilient beyond emotion.”

In the wake of the tragic murder of Robert Godwin Sr. by Steve Stephens that was uploaded and shared excessively on Facebook, the conversation concerning blacks and mental health has ramped up again.

But there is a prevailing belief that black folks can “just pray about it” and all of their mental health issues will melt away.

For those of you who know me, you know I’m a ‘bonafide’ Christian, but I beg to differ.

I believe that prayer without works is dead and God has given human beings gifts and talents to help one another.

So why is it so difficult for black people to seek out the help they need?

“It’s okay to not be okay. It’s not okay to stay that way.”

Could it be the reason black people stay in the chains of mental and emotional sickness is because many don’t understand that statement made by Pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr. during a young adult church service one night?

In honor of Minority Health Month, we dedicate this special section to the mental, emotional and physical well being of black people across the African Diaspora.

In addition to taking care of one’s mental and emotional health, this section features tips on how to live well at every age.

We’ve all heard the expressions “Black don’t crack.” Or “50 is the new 20.” But it is not enough for us to look like we’re okay because we have ‘good genes,’ we need to actually be okay because we’re living healthy lives.

Many of us take issue with making drastic lifestyle changes because doing so is not easy. However, what is the alternative? Would you rather make a lifestyle change so you can live and enjoy your life or continue with business as usual and slowly waste away?

So many of us neglect our personal health because we are on the daily grind, but the truth is, we could grind better if we were healthier.

It’s time for us to stop contributing to the despairing statistics concerning health and wellness in the black community and make a real attempt to change them by changing our habits.

We believe that we are our brothers and sisters keepers and in order for us to become a holistically healthy community, we must first hold each other accountable to become holistically healthy individuals.

We only get one mind, one body and one spirit. Let’s be sure we are being diligent in caring for them as best we can.