Cary doctor wants to break mental health stigma in African American community

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Several degrees are perfectly situated over the desk of Dr. Tammie Moore. Her Cary office has near floor to ceiling windows that display the beauty of trees still changing leaves.

Moore's undergrad is from Louisiana State University. She has a graduate degree from Loyola University in Chicago. An internship with Duke brought her to North Carolina. It's here that the Louisiana native raised her four children.

In 2003, Moore, a clinical psychologist, opened her private practice, Western Wake Counseling.

"I'm very passionate about this," Moore said of mental health.

Moore said mental health is more than just the mind, it's also the body and spirit.

"I have a--I guess a personal charge to help people chart away for hope, to hang in there, don't give up!"

Though Moore said she has a diverse group of clients, she is most passionate about mental health in the African American community.

When it comes to mental health with African American clients, Moore looks generational. She notes slavery and the effects it had on talking about issues in the home.

"For African Americans, historically, you just did not talk to strangers about problems in the house," Moore said.

She said that at one point in time, talking about family issues outside of the home could have detrimental results. That frightening truth transcended time, passing from generation to generation. Following with it the untrue stigma that seeking mental health treatment was a lack of personal faith or a sign of weakness.

Moore said that people aren't weak for talking about their struggles.

"I say we're all one emotional upsetting event away from a mental health crisis."

Statistically, Moore said that only a third of African Americans seek mental health treatment compared to 40 percent of white individuals.

For African American women, Moore hopes to change stigmas surrounding mental health.

"We have been socialized to just keep going," Moore said. "I don't want to say 'suck it up and keep moving,' but that has kind of been passed on for generation to generation."
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