The community I was from is set up for autistic people, people like me, to fail. One of the big issues in a minority community is that mental health is not addressed and no one believes in it. The resources are usually not available or difficult to find for people in minority communities. There are also long-standing traditions of mental health denial because of a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality. Because minority communities have often faced severe oppression and suffering in many ways, they have built an ideology about being strong and not helpless or weak. This has had many adverse effects on the mental wellbeing of the people within those communities.
Since mental health was somewhat of a myth to the community, it was a struggle I endured in my entire life.
I’m an African American male who comes from a community where if you displayed behavior that is associated with a mental illness, you were punished. African American communities often believe strongly in going to church, and they will tell you to pray about it and not seek help from a mental health professional. If you seek help from a mental health professional, you are viewed as weak. They tell your child to “man up, it’s all in your head, you’re making it up, etc.”
It’s hard to accept a mental health diagnosis in the Black community because of traditions we have been taught with.
Nobody in my community accepted my autism diagnosis, and I was ridiculed for seeking help. It was not until I was 22 years old, when I had my third suicide attempt, that I received help and support for my autism and other disabilities.
Today, to help others avoid this struggle, I have composed a list of ways you can accept your child’s diagnosis no matter how severe it is. Remember, you can be victorious and become an expert and advocate for your child.
Maverick Crawford was selected out of 1500 students as the Most Outstanding Undergraduate Student in the College of Public Policy at UTSA. He graduated from UTSA as Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Public Administration and a Minor in Civic Engagement. Maverick has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and is one of our most popular bloggers as he shares his experiences with our Aspergers101 audience.