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Depressive symptoms and psychological distress reported by African Americans

08-31-15 Category: Addiction, Mental Health

Depressive symptoms and psychological distress reported by African Americans

People come from a variety of backgrounds, facing different challenges and mental health obstacles. Much has been studied about mental health and addiction discrepancies between people of color and Caucasian individuals. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health does offer a collection of enlightening statistics for analysis.

African Americans are 20 percent more likely to self-report psychological distress compared to Caucasian people. Statistics break this problem down further in categories of feeling sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness and thinking “everything is an effort” on a regular basis. Low levels of education and presence of divorce negatively impacted these feelings further, although other causations were not explained.

These are the symptoms of depression, along with difficulties sleeping, changes in appetite, physical pain and more.

African Americans presented with a 9.9 percent frequency of “everything is an effort” mindset, which is 4.3 percent higher than Caucasian counterparts in the study. African Americans posted with higher numbers across the board, as well. When separated by gender, women in all race categories presented higher rates of depressive symptoms compared to men.

Despite the gap of these stats, mental health resources don’t seem to keep up with the problem. Adults over the age of 18 with a major depressive episode in the past year that received treatment came to 53 percent of African Americans and 68 percent of Caucasians.

The Office of the Surgeon General urges people to take into consideration the history of discrimination African Americans have and still experience on a regular basis. Indeed, a strong majority of this demographic can be traced back to ancestry coming from the slavery trade of Africa. Even as the slave trade ended in the United States during the mid-1800s, African Americans were kept from voting and integrated education, among other de jure and de facto rights.

The Surgeon General asserts, as a result of the discrimination, African Americans have adopted a strong, unified identity of shared outlooks, attitudes and resiliency. On the other side of the coin, the Surgeon General finds the group relatively economically disadvantaged, with poverty three times more common among black people than white individuals.

While the reasons for mental health discrepancies could be up for debate, it’s reasonable to hypothesize discrimination and economic difficulties as the reason for the high mental health difficulties and lower rate of achieving care. The Surgeon General finds negative stereotyping occurring at a measurable rate in the present day, which can impact mental health of those targeted.

Reasons for mental health problems are often as complex as the individual, which is why Sovereign Health Group uses a full-bodied approach to diagnosis and treatment for a variety of mental illnesses and addictions. Call 866-754-3385 today for a referral to one of our providers.

Written by Nicholas Ruiz, Sovereign Health Group writer

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