Mental Health and African American Women!



Depression Among Black WomenWhy Depressive Disorder is High Among African-American Women?

Annually, there are about 20 million people in the US who are battling against depression,which is found to be common among those suffering from chronic health problems such as obesity, diabetes and cancer. Those who are physically inactive, who smoke and drink are also prone to show depressive disorder according to the research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2008.

Significantly, when the prevalence was checked based on gender, the women have more incidence of depression compared to men. And, many of those women come from the African-American population. The study, however, stressed the fact that in 2011, almost 8 percent of the African-Americans asked help to be treated in comparison to around 13 percent of the overall population.

Furthermore, a university study shows that those in the low-income threshold are the ones prone to depression discrimination in their community. Now, if depression is a totally treatable mental illness, why is there such prevalent occurrence among African-American women?

#1 They receive inadequate depression care.

In the US, they are number one in the list of sectors receiving inadequate treatment;   the there by affecting a community as a whole. Although only half of the American population suffering from major depression undergo treatment, only 20 percent actually receive complete therapy – those that comply with the industry standard of care. And, of this percentage, black women are the ones most under treated.

There was even one victim who revealed that she tried to kill herself for more than 15 times because of her bipolar disorder, which is very shocking – it has gotten her to that 15 tries before someone can actually help her fully recover from depression.

#2 They have no health coverage.

In general, over 20% of the African-American population do not have health coverage.  And this is largely attributed to their low-income or low socioeconomic status. A public health professor cited that poverty and poor health are directly correlated. This is because they have fewer or no resources at all to get health coverage for themselves and their family.

It is very surprising to discover that the poverty percentage among blacks in America is higher than the national percentage – with single parents belonging to the bottom end. The Child Trends Data Bank cited that over 70 percent of the black mom population are single parents in contrast to the other groups. For example, the American Indian with over 60 percent while over 50 percent for Hispanics and 17% for Asians.

#3 They lack mental health education.

Because most are ashamed and embarrassed to be linked to depression, there is little to no interest about the subject in their community. Most of them do not consider this mental illness as serious – thinking that it is only an absolutely normal individual or personal struggle. This is evidenced by a research conducted by Mental Health America, having found 56 percent of them believing so.

As a result, they do not care to ask help from mental health institutions. Worst, so many think that depression is a feeling isolated only to whites – having forgotten that everyone is susceptible to feeling depressed out of loneliness, anxiety or what.

This mindset was linked to their historical background, having regarded as strong in  nature despite racial and sex discrimination, even before. Although some of them are coping from their depression through their friends, co-employees, and church ministers, this is not enough to really heal the real cause compared to seeking help from mental health doctors.

Overall, the challenge in lowering or eradicating the incidence of depression among black women is by giving them more employment opportunities, health insurance assistance and mental health education.


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