bipoc woman in therapy

How to Cope With Depression As a BIPOC

Depression is a genuine concern for all people. This is especially true if they are trying to cope with ongoing stress or a family history of mental illness. In addition, depression is more common in anyone who does not practice steady self-care. All that said, black, indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) face a higher risk than most.

A prominent example is that 1 in 5 Americans with depression are Black while Blacks make up only 13 percent of the population. Issues like grief, discrimination, and generational trauma are just a few of the reasons for this trend. Obviously, this reality must be addressed.

What Are Some of the Common
Depression Symptoms?

bipoc woman in therapyPeople with depression display emotions like guilt, sadness, and hopelessness. They struggle to stay focused and make decisions. Activities they once enjoyed no longer hold their interest and they can slide into patterns of self-harm.

Physically, anyone dealing with depression will experience bodily symptoms. These may involve sleep issues, fatigue, and digestive disturbances (including weight gain or loss). Unexplained aches and pains are also common.

While such symptoms may transcend race or ethnicity, some of the risks BIPOC face can be mostly specific to them.

What Causes Depression Among BIPOC?

Clinician Perception

Why this is not a “cause” in a strip sense, it continues mightily to the spread and worsening of this mood disorder among BIPOC. Research shows that BIPOC are often under-diagnosed. Even if a doctor is aware and anti-racist, they may not recognize depression symptoms that are more common for BIPOC. Depression can look and feel different for different people. If this is missed, the entire diagnosis can be inaccurate.

Financial Problems

Lack of money is a major cause of mental illness and it can limit one’s access to healthcare. BIPOC tend to experience poverty at rates higher than white people. The intersection of race and financial class is a recipe for depression and untreated depression.


While mental health stigma affects all people, it appears to be strongest in Black communities. Males are likely to be called “weak” while females are viewed as “hysterical.” This contributes to a situation in which BIPOC choose to remain silent about what they’re feeling. As a result, a condition like depression is left to develop and worsen without any kind of medical intervention.

How to Cope With Depression As a BIPOC

Remember: Depression is Not a Sin

It’s not unusual to experience guilt trips from your church community if you talk about mental health issues. Depression is an insidious medical condition that is not a reflection of one’s faith or strength. Just as a person of faith you’d seek medical care for a twisted ankle or flu symptoms, it’s logical to speak to a professional if you suspect depression is present in your life. Someone with depression cannot just “cheer up” and more than a person with diabetes could “snap out of it.”

Challenge Myths

Historically, BIPOC have faced relentless hardships. But it’s a myth to believe that the struggles are “over.” You don’t have to endure systemic discrimination to be worthy of help. Mental health disorders are genuine crises. There’s no need to rank hardships, justify your pain, or compare your struggle with anyone else.

Connect With the Help You Need

The Internet can sometimes be the source of mental distress. But it also enables people to learn about something like depression with a few clicks. In addition, it’s never been easier to link up with BIPOC who understand what you’re feeling.

Also, it can be life-changing to connect with a therapist who “gets” it. I’m here to help and invite you to reach out and learn more about depression therapy.

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