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Interview: Dr. Loma Flowers on mental health care in the black community

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Interview: Dr. Loma Flowers on mental health care in the black community

Picture of Leila  Day

This report was produced by KALW reporter Leila Day for the California Health Journalism Fellowship, a program of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The three-part series looks at stigmas toward health care amongst African Americans; why there aren't more African American therapists and the possible effects; and mental health care among Africans living in the Bay Area. 

Dr. Loma Flowers
Monday, August 31, 2015

In many African-American communities, mental health issues have a history of being under-treated and under-diagnosed.

According to the federal government's Office of Minority Health, African-Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population -- but for a number of reasons, including lack of access and limited insurance options -- they're less likely to seek treatment. But there's also something less concrete: there's a stigma attached to needing mental health care in the first place.

KALW's Leila Day talks with local psychiatrist Dr. Loma Flowers about the reasons why many in the black community may still resist therapy.

DR. LOMA FLOWERS: African Americans have had a difficult time in the U.S. in general and vulnerability was very dangerous; any kind of vulnerability could get swept into that. You had to take care of it within the family. You had to feel safe.

To hear the full story, listen to the audio player above.

This story was originally broadcast by KALW.