Table 1:

Participant quotes regarding factors affecting the mental health of Black youth

Negative factors affecting mental health
Anti-Black racism and microaggression“I grew up with so much internalized anti-Blackness. God, I hated myself. I wanted to be white so bad. I wanted to have straight hair. I wanted to have lighter skin. You know, I wanted to have smaller lips.” (Participant 009, female)
“In my community, it’s very easy, because obviously the community understands the struggles that are out there. Outside my community, there is, and I think I’ve subconsciously learned to do this, is to kind of … start out with the notion that I’m not going to rob you [Laughs], right? …. Especially when I interact with white people, just kind of the first thing that I have to attack is the preconceived notion that I am Black, I’m a thug, or whatever.” (Participant 22, male)
“Because that toxic masculinity is not a Black thing; it’s an everybody thing. It’s an every male thing. What separates us is we have an added thing called racism. Because now in terms of mental health, men, we’re not taking care of ourselves mentally, and now there’s this added…factor of hate from another group of males who more or less have the same struggle as you.” (Participant 22, male)
Generational gap“Because I feel like in the Black community the previous generations have worked so hard to get where we’re at right now, that they didn’t have the time to worry about mental health. They had to put food on the table.” (Participant 001, female)
“Yes, because I feel like most … okay, not all parents, but most of them kind of have a narrowed point of view on mental health. So, they either have a white or Black point of view. They don’t have … they’re not really open-minded to it, so yeah, they don’t … and some of them don’t really care, too. So, they don’t … if it doesn’t directly affect them, they don’t bother to learn about it.” (Participant 016)
Academic expectations“My university career was very stressful. I think being a student can definitely have negative impacts on one’s mental health, especially if you do not … if you’re not aware of how to take care of your mental health. I feel like just stress in general can have a very negative impact on one’s mental health.” (Participant 010, female)
Financial stress“Finances are a big one … and it’s alarming, actually, the number of people who I have spoken to who are international students, Black students, African students, who are in some way left like here to fend for themselves. And it’s nearly impossible. … That takes like a toll on your mental health, I would say.” (Participant 039, male)
Lack of identity“I am half [Black and half white], and people from my Spanish side called me a nigger. Being a Black person, I was [also] called white. Hearing about intersectionality makes me realize how I don’t know myself.” (Conversation café participant 3, female)
Previous traumatic events“Because like it’s not something that just stems from those 2 situations; it’s like my childhood too; so, one of the situations in our childhood was that we were… our brother was like sexually abusing [pause], and we kind of blocked it out (crying).” (Participant 004, male)
Religion“For a while, I almost felt, for lack of a better word, guilty about kind of seeking outside help, outside of religion, because you’re kind of taught that, you know, go to God with all your problems and it’s almost like you think looking outside of God is almost in some way renouncing your faith. Which now I know it isn’t, but at the time I was like, ‘Should I? Should I not? Am I a good Christian if I do?’ Such intense internal conflict.” (Participant 027, female)
Positive factors affecting mental health
Sense of accomplishment“Getting a good grade more, yeah. That has a positive effect on my mental health, definitely.” (Participant 002, female)
Openness about mental health“It makes me feel like I’m on the way to healing, or that I’ve healed like some parts of myself. Like when I’m actually able to talk and open up and be vulnerable, and not just like … because I’ll … I could talk about mental health, like whatever [Yeah], but it’s like it depends on what I’ve overcome, and what I’ve like already healed.” (Participant 009, female)
“Mental health is just normal for us, just talking about it. And just I’d say the environment that my parents created, just making sure that we know they are always there to listen to us, and not create that kind of gap between parents and children that we can sometimes observe. And yeah, I’d say just trust between us. That’s the main factor, us being able to talk about mental health issues or just generally talk about mental health.” (Participant 036, female)
Positive relationships“I’m honestly just like really … I’m just like blessed, lucky. I feel like I have really good people in my life. I have some sisters, like sister figures from my church that are like family to me, and they’re just really open and transparent with their whole journey of life, and I think, yeah, they’ve been through a lot. They don’t really have a lot of shame, because they’ve just been through a lot, and they’re very open. So I have people like that, that I can just talk to. They’re like my sisters.” (Participant 027, female)
Sense of community“There’s just like if everyone gets on it, there’s just a sense of community, when everyone bands together, and like that will help. Because there’s not necessarily that in like other groups, if that makes sense.” (Participant 002, female)
Spirituality“Most of my life I’ve been … and it’s always been preached to me that everything happens for a reason. God puts you in certain situations for a reason, and you have to go through it. You have to turn to Him and go through it, with Him.” (Participant 022, male)