This Is What It's Like To Be "Depressed While Black"

Video: Courtesy of Project UROK.
This week, Refinery29 is exploring mental health topics as part of our partnership with Clinton Global Initiative University. This article was originally published on February 26, 2016.

Our society hasn't exactly made it easy on those with mental illnesses. But as Imade Nibokun explains in the latest video for Project UROK, people of color face unique challenges in getting help for mental health issues.

"Depression was something that was hovering in the background that I just got use to," Nibokun says. "[It was] almost like a pair of shoes that you wear in." She found herself in grad school racing along the highway "wanting to die," which made her realize that she needed to get help.

On her blog, Depressed While Black, Nibokun writes about the particular stigmas and barriers to care for people of color with mental illnesses. "Growing up I thought depression was a 'white person disease,'" Nibokun explains in the video, "that depression is just not something that we do as Black people... I really had to learn that I am worth the care."

And with the recent suicide of MarShawn M. McCarrel II, a prominent Black Lives Matter activist, Nibokun says mental health issues are colliding with other social justice issues in new ways. "It gave a wake-up call to all of us that there need to be healing spaces for Black Lives Matter activists," she explains, "because it takes us being whole mentally to fight oppression."
Advertisement

More from Mind

No one goes through life trying to be a horrible person. But sometimes, it's a challenge to go that extra mile (or even just a few steps) out of your way...
Living with anxiety can feel like a constant battle. You have to stay alert to catch anxiety creeping up on you, and it can turn into an all-day fight to ...
We explore the unconscious messages a voice can give off and why snap judgments can be harmful, even if they're innocent
(Paid Content) Taking short breaks during the workday can bring your sanity back to earth. Of course, they have a calming effect, but did you know breaks ...
It's not always easy to predict how much you're going to drink when you go out — or how drunk you'll actually get. And according to a new study, your ...
This story was originally published on May 19, 2016. A few years ago, I called my dad for one of our weekly chats — but he wasn’t happy to hear from me...
As much as it sucks, anxiety doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Without a little bit of it, you wouldn’t make sure to show up on time to that job interview or...
(Paid Content) Moods are fickle things. You can be going about your day in a happy, productive, and calm manner, and boom — everything changes. And ...
This story was originally published on May 19, 2016. I am six years old, in the first grade girls’ bathroom with my friend. We are washing our hands. ...
This story was originally published on Jul. 19, 2016. Several months ago, a woman I’m very close to checked herself into a hospital because she’d been ...
This article was originally published on May 27, 2015. Now that pot legislation is making its way across the country, it's time for a refresher on the ...
Depression is one of the most common mental-health issues in the United States, and it affects roughly twice as many women as men. Yet new research ...
On social media, it's easy to catch all sorts of digital diseases, such as FOMO, internet addiction, and anxiety. Facebook and Instagram-wary researchers...
As a culture, we have a slight tendency to exaggerate. We don’t just love PSLs — we’re obsessed. We aren’t just neat and tidy — we Kondo. Another term we ...