What Is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is short for June Nineteenth. On that day in 1865, around 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas and announced that all enslaved people were free by executive decree. Due to this history-making moment, Juneteenth is sometimes referred to as the United States' second Independence Day.

Juneteenth was not widely recognized until a few years ago and only became a federal holiday in 2021, which is why the history behind the holiday may come as a surprise to some. After all, the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863. According to common belief, this marked the official end of slavery. However, the Confederate state of Texas still had more than 250,000 enslaved Black people over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. Juneteenth marks the day that slavery truly came to an end in the country.

Juneteenth was also the beginning of the period known as Reconstruction, which lasted through 1877. In these years, there were massive changes in terms of new opportunities opening up to Black men, women, children, and families. And although even more freedoms have been secured in the intervening century and a half, the echoes of slavery still have an impact on the lives of many Black individuals today.

ADHD in the Black Community

One way in which the inequalities that began with slavery still continue today is in the way that Black communities are treated when it comes to health care — and ADHD is no exception. According to several studies, minority children have been found to be less likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis compared to white children, with the greatest disparities found among African American children. The rate of ADHD diagnosis has been estimated to be about 69% lower in Black children compared to white children.

Several studies have suggested that implicit racial bias plays a role in how Black individuals with ADHD are diagnosed and treated. For example, one study of Medicaid-enrolled children found that African American children were less likely to receive adequate follow-up care when beginning a medication treatment compared to white children. 

The lack of comprehensive, quality treatment for Black people is worrying because of the heightened risk of negative outcomes for untreated ADHD. Adding to the complexity of this situation is that, due to the historical racial bias in medical treatment, some Black patients lack trust in physicians and hospitals.

Black ADHD Stigma

Black people and other minorities generally don't have as much representation when it comes to discussions of ADHD compared to whites. In many cases, it's individual ADHD advocates who are making the most progress in terms of representation for the Black community. Seeing certain Black celebrities with ADHD, such as Simone Biles, can also help make progress in this area, though there's still a long way to go.

A side effect of the lack of representation, however, is that there's often increased stigma that has to be dealt with. There are cultural differences, variations in parenting techniques, and societal stigma which can affect how Black people are treated when they have ADHD. Some parents may resist a diagnosis, while others may disapprove of the use of medication as treatment.

Stigma against Black people in general can also play a role in the way ADHD is treated. For example, teachers are often the ones who first detect a possible ADHD diagnosis in children. But there can be a double standard applied when comparing Black children to white children or even other minority children. Where certain behaviors exhibited by white children are see n as possible indicators of ADHD and typically prompt a formal assessment, the same symptoms in Black children may be labeled as bad behavior and result in punishment.

Inclusive ADHD Care

With the concerns about racial bias and stigma, some Black individuals may be wary of seeking out the care they need for their ADHD symptoms. But going without treatment can be risky, especially since untreated ADHD can lead to a number of possible risks to someone's physical and mental health.

If you're looking for a place you can trust to get an ADHD diagnosis or medication to manage your symptoms, Done can help. We pride ourselves on offering inclusive care and quality treatment for each and every patient. We fully recognize the stigma facing certain minority communities, and you can rest assured that you'll get completely confidential care. In fact, our telehealth appointments make it easier to attend an appointment with a licensed ADHD clinician discreetly and privately. Take our one-minute online assessment to get started.