Minority Mental Health Series: Mental Health and African Americans
July 5, 2016
July is Minority Mental Health Awareness month. Each week I'm going to highlight a minority group and discuss some mental health topics unique to them. While no collective of individuals is a monolith, I hope to bring awareness to shed light on mental health issues, healing rituals, and cultural truths that may not be overtly apparent to others.
This week I'll be starting with Mental Health and African Americans. First let's get some stats, shall we. The following are excerpts from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health:
Poverty level affects mental health status. African Americans living below the poverty level, as compared to those over twice the poverty level, are 3 times more likely to report psychological distress.
African Americans are 20% more likely to report having serious psychological distress than Non-Hispanic Whites.
Non-Hispanic Whites are more than twice as likely to receive antidepressant prescription treatments as are Non-Hispanic Blacks.
The death rate from suicide for African American men was almost four times that for African American women, in 2009.
However, the suicide rate for African Americans is 60% lower than that of the Non-Hispanic White population.
A report from the U.S. Surgeon General found that from 1980 - 1995, the suicide rate among African Americans ages 10 to 14 increased 233%, as compared to 120% of Non-Hispanic Whites.