Closing the Gap Between Black and White Women's Health

Learn why women of color experience more pain, heart disease, and mental health issues than their white peers.

We’ve recently seen a powerful light shone on the many dangerous ways that racism pervades our society. It angers and saddens us and makes us recognize that we are all responsible for finding a way to make it better.  

To "do more of what you love"—a mantra we live by here at Sagely Naturals, you need to be in good health, and Black women are disproportionately affected by physical and mental health conditions in comparison to their Caucasian counterparts. Women of color are currently dealing with more pain, more heart disease, and more mental health issues than their white peers. When it comes to wellbeing, we believe knowledge is power, which is why we want to highlight the reasons for this disparity and three conditions currently unfairly skewed toward black women.

Why Does This Inequality in Black Women’s Healthcare Exist?

Considering women make up 50.8% of the 309 million people who live in the United States, digging into the reasons why there is an inequality of healthcare provided to black women specifically is crucial. The primary reasons cited by researchers in this area include: 

  • socio-economic status, 
  • health behaviors related to culture, 
  • access to health care, 
  • environmental factors, and 
  • direct and indirect manifestations of discrimination. 

Specific Health Issues Impacting Black Women

There are many health issues that impact Black women including pain, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and mental health issues. And although we are focusing on just three below, it’s important to note that many conditions often occur together or are exacerbate each other:

1. Joint Pain 

According to the 2008 Kaiser Women’s Health survey, 54% of African-American women reported having doctor-diagnosed arthritis within the past five years, compared to 37% of Caucasian women. Studies have also shown that 27% of Black people report having

severe pain most of the time, although this is thought to be underreported in the clinical setting.

2. Heart Disease

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for Black women with around 7.6 percent of black women developing heart disease, compared to 5.8 percent of white women.

3. Mental Health Issues

Layered on top of the usual biological culprits contributing to mental health issues, economic uncertainty and racism can negatively impact mental health status in the black community. According to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, black people are 10 percent more likely to report experiencing serious psychological distress than white people.

The health issues faced by Black women are immense and we as a country need to do better to address these health challenges. They not only affect the day-to-day experiences of individuals but also threaten to have a flow-on effect into wider communities. While the statistics are overwhelming and disturbing, there’s plenty we can do collectively to turn the tide. Here are some of our favorite resources to explore, donate to, and to help bring the health inequality in women’s healthcare back into balance:

Black Women’s Health Imperative

Visit: https://bwhi.org/ 

Their mission is to lead the effort to solve the most pressing health issues that affect Black women and girls in the U.S. Through investments in evidence-based strategies, they deliver bold new programs and advocate health-promoting policies. Since 1983, they have been the only national organization dedicated solely to improving the health and wellness of our nation’s 21 million Black women and girls–physically, emotionally, and financially.

The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation

Visit: https://borislhensonfoundation.org/ 

Founded by Taraji P. Henson, The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is committed to eradicating the stigma of mental health issues in the Black community. The foundation partners with non-profit organizations to provide educational programs and currently, they're offering free virtual therapy sessions.


Visit: https://www.beam.community/whatwebelieve 

A collective of advocates, yoga teachers, therapists, lawyers, religious leaders, and more—BEAM's mission is to support the mental health and healing of the Black communities. The organization regularly hosts community events that include meditation, reiki healing, and a safe space to vent. They also offer professional development and educational training for students, advocates, activists, and grassroots movements and organizations.

The Loveland Foundation

Visit: https://thelovelandfoundation.org/ 

Founded by Rachel Cargle, The Loveland Foundation works to make healing and therapy services accessible to Black women and girls. The organization's The Loveland Therapy Fund has a goal to offer 5,000 hours of free therapy sessions.

Black Girl In Om

Visit: https://www.blackgirlinom.com/support 

Yoga instructor Lauren Ash founded Black Girl in Om, a wellness site, podcast, and event series catered specifically to Black women. Its vision is stated as, "A world where women of color are liberated, empowered and seen."

Brown Girl Self Care

Visit: https://www.browngirlselfcare.com/ 

Brown Girl Self Care is a wellness platform that offers events, a podcast, and newsletter. You can also join the community to connect with other members and get weekly wellness tips and tools.

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