My novel What My Sister Don't Know is filled with love, betrayal and a whole lot of drama. But one of my characters finds himself caught up in a emotional web which brings me to my topic of Mental Illness. Mental Illness, especially in the black community is sometimes thought of as taboo. It is drummed into our heads at a young age that we are strong black people who have been through slavery and the Civil Rights Movement and have survived. Therefore it is assumed there is no room in our character for weakness. We are taught to be strong, get over what ever is ailing us and move on. But what if you can't get over it? What if the storms of life have you in such a grip that you can't break free? Is it shameful to seek out help? You wouldn't think so in today's society. Well I am sorry to say that in some black families it is thought to be. Especially the families who are deeply rooted into the church believes that all we need to do is to pray and every thing will be alright. There is nothing wrong with prayer. Prayer certainly helps but sometimes it is not enough. God has given us many resources and that includes physicians and psychologists. And he wants us to use them along with our beliefs in him. So if you know someone who need help or if by chance it is you, don't be afraid to seek out help. Mental health is just as important as physical health.
Janie De Coster
Author of What My Sister Don't Know