Reading Time: 5 minutes

Mental health in Black Cincinnati is done flying under the radar. It is time to educate ourselves and take action. 

Mental Health in Black CincinnatiDuring the last year, mental health in Black Cincinnati made the news several times. While tragedy brings communities together and sparks discussions about solutions, it is important to educate yourself and your family about the reality of these issues and the impact they have.

Here are six things you need to know about mental health in Black Cincinnati.

You may also like:
Register today for the Cincinnati Men’s Health Expo!

  1. There are six signs to know if you or someone you know may be experiencing mental health issues.

– Anxiety

– Hopelessness

– Irritability or being easily agitated

– Isolation from core group or a previously enjoyed activity

– Stress

– Self-medicating with food, alcohol, drugs or other substances.

  1. The rate of African-American adults who receive mental health treatment or counseling in half the rate of White adults.

Research shows African-Americans do not want to identify with mental health because of the cultural stigmas of being mentally broken, crazy or sick. Though mental health issues are statistically present in Black Americans, seeking help from a licensed medical professional is less prevalent. In 2014, 9.4 percent of African-American adults received mental health treatment or counseling, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This is half the rate of White adults.

  1. Most health insurance plans cover mental health treatment and counseling.

As of 2014, most individuals and small group health insurance plans, including plans sold in the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, are required to cover mental health and substance use disorder services. Medicaid Alternative Benefit Plans also must cover mental health and substance use disorder services. Call your provider today to find out more.   

  1. At least three African-American mental health providers are accepting new clients in Cincinnati

Many African-Americans want to see African-American medical providers. Cincinnati is fortunate to be home to these three African-American mental health providers ~ A Sound Mind Counseling, Dr. Rochelle Buckley and Dr. Dwonna Thompson-Lenoir. The National Alliance on Mental Illness recommends that while you should go directly to a mental health professional, if you do not feel comfortable right away, a primary care doctor is a great place to start the assessment to determine if you have a mental health condition or help refer you to a mental health professional.

If you are uncomfortable with physically going to see a doctor, there are options like Talkspace that allow you to speak with a licensed therapist online.

  1. Most low-income African-Americans who suffer from mental health issues only access treatment when they are incarnated, hospitalized or homelessMental Health in Black Cincinnati

“What plays a greater role in mental health than race is socioeconomic status. People who live under poverty level have greater barriers to treatment.  Because of this, most persons in poverty, including many African-Americans, will access treatment only after they have been incarnated, hospitalized or homeless.” says Kandi Staples, MSW, LISW-S.

According to a 2015 survey by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Black adults ages 18 and over are marginally more likely to report serious psychological distress than White, with 3.4 and 3.2 percent of the population respectively. However, other factors such as joblessness, poverty, and incarceration affect rates of mental health issues as well. The same survey reports that serious psychological distress is at least twice as likely to be reported in Black adults living below the poverty line than those living above it.

The good news is a 2017 Interact for Health Community Survey reports that African-Americans in the Greater Cincinnati Area are getting the help they need as 45% feel they do an excellent or very good job managing their stress. 

  1. In 2015, 8.9 percent of African-American high school students attempted suicide

Tragically, the dangers of psychological disorders extend to Black children as well. Per the National Alliance on Mental Illness, half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. In 2015, 14.5 percent of Black students grades 9-12 seriously considered suicide, and 8.9 percent of Black students attempted to take their lives.

You may also like: Here are 34 family assistance programs ready to help you.

Here are a few resources in the Cincinnati area for individuals and families suffering from mental health issues.  

Cincinnati VA Medical Center is a branch of the Cincinnati Veteran Affairs that provides evaluation and treatment for a variety of issues that can impact the emotional health and well-being of veterans.

Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services is one of the largest mental health agencies in the area, serving individuals in Cincinnati through a variety of programs since 2004.

National Alliance on Mental Illness Urban Greater Cincinnati is the Greater Cincinnati branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Programs of Cincinnati is a state-funded organization designed to combat drug and alcohol abuse among African and Hispanic Americans in Ohio. They provide a selection of services for various ages.

Mental Health First Aide helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis. In these courses, you learn risk factors and warning signs of mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help for adults and youth. Find a course near you
to learn more about mental health in Black Cincinnati today. 

Mental health is a serious concern for everyone, young and old. If you know of programs in the area or information we have missed, please let us know at The Voice of Black Cincinnati.

The Voice of Black Cincinnati is a media company designed to educate, recognize and create opportunities for African-Americans in the region. Visit our homepage, explore other articles, subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook for local news, events, job postings, scholarships and a database of local Black-owned businesses.


  1. Hi,
    Thank you so much for addressing this issue. The Black community, especially the Black church, refuses to acknowledge the importance of pursuing mental health care. It is very difficult to address unless a person has been perceived to be in a severe a case. My being an example, I have sought consultation that has been very helpful. One of the ways to help control my depression is my taking prescribed medicine. SSRI tends to have a side effect on sexual performance. It is very challenging at 54 years old and a second two year marriage. So I am often feel like I am in a quandary of making sure that my marriage is stable on so many levels and to assure my wife that it is not she who is not fulfilling her desire to please me. Also, I have designed a website for a client who lives in Alaska. Because Alaska is such a dark area, there is a high rate of suicide. On the website I included some statistics of young people in America. Native Americans are listed as the highest rate of suicide. Ironically, Blacks are listed as the lowest.
    Again it is great to see someone in our community who seeks to bring the issue of mental health care to the surface. Here is the link to the website to which I am referring.



      1. Charles, I agree totally and thank you for sharing your experience. This is also a great article.

  2. Thank you for the information! Would you be willing to speak at my church corinthian Baptist Church , Pastor K Z Smith for our Behavioal and Mental health ministry ?

  3. Good article, are you aware of the efforts by Dr. Victor Garcia of Children’s Hospital here in Cincinnati. He has taken the initiative to address the issue to the heart of the African American community with trainings of the people most affected from the trauma that creates and promotes much of the mental health issues we are faced with.
    If anyone is interested in knowing more or joining the effort to eradicate the on going mental health issues here in Cincinnati give Dr.Victor Garcia a call at 513 803-7406, ask for Ashley

Comments are closed.