Intersectionality & Cultural Identity
“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” -- AUDRE LORDE
Intersectionality refers to the recognition that individuals hold multiple social identities that intersect and interact, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and socioeconomic status. When considering mental health, intersectionality highlights how these intersecting identities can shape a person's experiences, access to resources, and vulnerability to mental health challenges. Here are some key aspects of intersectionality and its implications for mental health:
1. Unique Experiences and Challenges: Intersectionality acknowledges that individuals with multiple marginalized identities may face unique experiences and challenges that are not adequately captured by examining each identity separately. For example, a Black woman may face both racism and sexism, which can intersect and compound the impact on her mental health.
2. Compounding Oppressions and Inequalities: Intersectionality recognizes that the experiences of multiple forms of oppression can compound and intersect, leading to increased vulnerability to mental health issues. For instance, LGBTQ+ individuals of color may face discrimination and marginalization based on both their race/ethnicity and sexual orientation/gender identity, which can negatively impact their mental well-being.
3. Health Disparities and Access to Care: Intersectionality sheds light on the health disparities faced by individuals with intersecting identities. Marginalized groups may face barriers to accessing mental health care due to factors such as systemic discrimination, socioeconomic disadvantages, cultural stigma, and lack of culturally responsive services. This can lead to disparities in mental health outcomes and treatment access.
4. Resilience and Strength: Intersectionality also recognizes the resilience and strengths that individuals with intersecting identities can possess. Cultural and community resources, as well as personal resilience developed through navigating multiple oppressions, can be sources of support and empowerment for mental well-being.
5. Advocacy and Social Change: Intersectionality calls for an intersectional approach to mental health advocacy and social change. It emphasizes the need to address the interconnected systems of oppression and work towards creating inclusive and equitable environments that consider the unique experiences and needs of individuals with intersecting identities.
Understanding the intersectionality of identities is crucial for mental health professionals, policymakers, and society as a whole. It helps in developing inclusive and responsive mental health care, addressing disparities, promoting social justice, and supporting the well-being of individuals with intersecting identities. By recognizing and addressing the complex interplay of various social identities, we can foster more holistic approaches to mental health promotion and support.
At Everwell Health and Counseling Services, our therapists are particularly passionate about providing diversity-affirming care, intentionally creating a safe space and brave space for you to be your true and authentic self. We are constantly working to learn and unlearn ways in which cultural dynamics, systemic and institutional influences, and individual differences, all work to shape each individual. All our mental health counselors and therapists also are highly trained in evidence-based treatments to help you navigate through your specific concerns in healthy, positive ways that work best for you. Our therapists provide a space for you to express your concerns, help you feel heard, understood, and supported, validate your experience, while helping to empower you to take positive action and change. Everwell’s diverse group of therapists are here to help you along your journey to peace.
Everwell Health and Counseling Services in a Michigan-based mental health therapy practice that sees individuals in-person in Ann Arbor, servicing those in the surrounding Washtenaw County (Ypsilanti, Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, Milan), and virtually across the entire state of Michigan. Some of our therapists are also licensed to serve additional states of Ohio, Massachusetts, Arizona, and Wisconsin.