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IMG_0135 (2).JPGWhat does it mean to be “authentic?” Are you connected to yourself enough to know if you are indeed living a life that is authentically you? Or, are you living a life sculpted from unresolved past pain and internal conflict? Do you know where to go to start the process of living a whole and authentic life? Would you consider therapy? Yes, I am talking about seeing a certified counselor or mental health professional. Does that seem like an absurd idea? Unfortunately, for far too many in our community, sitting down to talk with a therapist and work on ourself seems like an absurd idea with devastating consequences.

Here are some numbers to consider. According to mental health publications, suicide among African American children across the United States nearly doubled between 1993 and 2012. In 2015, research found significantly more suicides among Black children ages 5 to 11 than in Caucasian children the same age. For Black teens ages 10 to 19, the rate of suicides is three times higher in males than in females. Even more so, suicide was the third-leading cause of death among Blacks ages 15 to 19, fourth among those ages 20 to 29, and eighth among those ages 30 to 39. In general, one in five American adults experiences a mental health issue in a given year.

Kyana Bradley is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with Authentic Connections Therapeutic Services. She speaks with Denise Hill about what it means to live an authentic life, the need for mental health access in minority communities, and the importance of just having someone to talk to. Her services and her insight are invaluable and should empower you to live an authentic and present life.