Black History Month Resources
In February, CAC will shine a light on mental health issues that affect the black community, while showcasing how CAC can help. We will also provide ways for your and your children to connect and talk about race in a meaningful way.
ACEs by Racial Breakdown
Black children and teens are at a higher risk for experiencing ACEs than any other race.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) studies how traumatic experiences in childhood are linked to poor health outcomes later in life. There are a range of ACEs, including:
Living in these conditions causes changes in the brain related to how children and adults deal with stress, and can led to impaired immune systems. These changes have lasting effects and can cause chronic disease, mental health issues, and are the root of most violence.
Black children and teens are at a higher risk than any other minority group for experiencing ACEs (61% of black youth will experience at least one ACE by the time they turn 18). The high occurrence of ACEs among minorities can likely be attributed to the uneven provision of services and opportunities in minority neighborhoods. This inequity is caused by social determinants of health.
The World Health Organization describes the social determinants of health as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power, and resources.” These result in the unfair but avoidable differences in health status seen between different neighborhoods, zip codes, and even states. The social determinants of health are responsible for most health and other social disparities.
As we commemorate Black History Month, it is important that we recognize the challenges faced in black communities. There are ways for children to break the cycle and live healthy lives. Building resilience and promoting healthy relationships are two ways we can break the cycle. Children's Advocacy Centers around the country offer free services to help children and teens who have suffered abuse build resilience and learn healthy relationship techniques so they can move forward with their lives and not be defined by their abuse.
*statistics taken from https://www.centerforchildcounseling.org/aces-and-minorities/
African American Children at a Greater Risk for Sexual Abuse
While children sexual abuse does not discriminate based on background, there is clear evidence that African American children are at the highest risk for sexual abuse and are often the least likely to receive help.
Did you know? African American children are nearly TWICE as likely to experience child sexual abuse than their white and Hispanic peers?
There are certain risk factors that put children in greater danger of being sexually abused. African American children are also at a greater risk than their white counterparts for living in these circumstances.
Family structure is the most important risk factor in child sexual abuse:
• Children who live with two married biological parents are at a low risk for abuse.
• The risk increases where children live with stepparents or a single parent. (64% of African American households are single parent compared to 24% of white children)
• Children living without either parent (foster children) are 10 times more likely to be sexually abused than children that live with both biological parents. (23% of children in foster care are African American)
• Children who live with a single parent that has a live-in partner are at the highest risk; they are 20 times more likely to be victims of child sexual abuse than children living with both biological parents. (8%)
Socioeconomic factors also put children at a greater risk for child sexual abuse:
• The risk for sexual abuse is tripled for children whose parent(s) are not in the labor force. (16% more than double the rate for white children)
• Children in low socioeconomic status households are three times as likely to be identified as a victim of child abuse. (26%)
There’s no denying that we need to do more to help protect African American children. The effects of child sexual abuse vary, but if left untreated survivors are more likely to experience:
• Eating Disorders
• Relationship Difficulties
Unfortunately, due to lack of access, affordability and social stigmas, it’s estimated that only 25% of African Americans will seek treatment for their mental health. Children’s Advocacy Centers aim to remove barriers preventing children from getting the help they need after abuse. We offer FREE services to our 38 service communities, and work to coordinate times, transportation, and telehealth services to those who need them. Mental health is not a luxury! We want to help any child who needs it, and show them that abuse does not define them, and their futures are still bright!
Black Psychologists You Should Know
As mental health professionals, we wanted to highlight a few of the essential African American psychologists who have contributed critical research in the field of psychology.