Why We Need To See More Black Women in Therapy on TV

I need therapy. I've known for at least the last five years of my life. But when I mentioned this and my anxiety to my then boyfriend he promptly laughed at me. Hence why I still haven't been and am now single.

Sadly, like Insecure's Molly (Yvonne Orji, who likened therapy to "paying for a fake friend") and most black people, I was raised to see therapy as the last resort for a weak, desperate person. Molly's initial rejection to the idea of getting professional help saddened me, because black women are amongst the highest group of people suffering from mental illnesses and yet we all refuse to get help for fear of being stigmatized.

This stigma is mainly perpetuated by the belief that religion is the answer to all problems. This of course stems from past times when Black folks felt we had nowhere else to turn but to churches and God when our mental health or emotional wellbeing was in jeopardy. 

Thou shalt not discuss the mental health issues, thou shalt just pray them away. Molly’s compliance to this dangerous principle is evident by how shocked she looked when her old friend Crystal told her she’d used therapy to help turn her life around and how offended she was when Issa hinted (and then later stated plainly) that counseling was something she should look into for herself.

Luckily, that all changed during the season two premiere when we saw Molly sitting front in center on the plush couch. And to my surprise I saw no jokes on Twitter about her being weak for taking the first step into cleaning up her messy AF life.

Black women, like myself, are running around thinking they have to go through life carrying the world on their shoulders with no help because of some made-up notion that we’re all supposed to be above mental health issues. We're supposed to be the strong ones. But you know what? I'm tired of being the strong friend. Starting today I'm giving myself permission to not always be okay. To not always be happy. To not always be excelling at work. Or to have everything going right in the love department. 

The solution to everything: honesty. Being honest about how I'm feeling will get me far. The same way it will improve Molly's life. And the more we talk about therapy, depression, anxiety, and mental health in general, the less stigmatized it will become. Like most millennials I enjoy watching relatable TV and this is a part of myself that I'm tired of hiding from everyone and want to see portrayed in an accurate, but hopeful way. 

This is why I love Insecure and it's commitment to being part of the solution. Thanks to the incredible staff, crew and Issa Rae the HBO hit series is platform to tackle difficult discussions about Blackness and mental health and I can't wait to see how this sort of issue plays out in future episodes.