Waiting for today...: Article: African American Women and Depression

Thursday, November 6

Article: African American Women and Depression

Speaking with a my middle sister-friend and her mother, my third mom, got me to thinking about how real the avoidance of treatment for mental illness is in the African American community...
With the breakthroughs that I've had since starting cognitive behavioral therapy and the short duration of my latest acute depressive episode (which I contribute to therapy), I am now self-proclaimed promoter of this particular type of treatment.  As I've opened up to my loved ones about my struggle with depression, many of them have in turn opened up about their own struggles as well.  I am careful to distinguish between depression and sadness as I tell my story.  But as I listen to theirs, I slowly realize what they have experienced is more than sadness.  While I become saddened by their admission, it becomes a great opportunity for me to educate and encourage them to seek treatment.  Then reality sets in.  The responses are all too familiar.  Either they have been in therapy before and "it didn't help" or they prefer to receive "counseling" from their religious leaders instead of a licensed professional.  The following article delves a bit more deeply into how history has helped shape our psyche resulting in the reluctance to admit to and seek treatment for mental illness.

Depression is a huge health concern among African Americans — particularly women — but mental health is often stigmatized in the Black community… “During slavery you were supposed to be the strong one. You weren’t supposed to speak. You were supposed to just do,” said Esney M. Sharpe, founder and CEO of the Bessie Mae Women’s Health Center in East Orange, N.J., which offers health services for uninsured and underserved women. “…Our moms and our grandmothers always told us to suppress. Just be quiet, chalk it up, get up, dress up, fix your face, put on your best outfit and just keep going,” she said…  Because mental health is a taboo subject in the African-American community, Black people are less likely than other groups to even acknowledge it as a serious problem…

con’t reading: African-American Women and Depression by Nia Hamm published at PsychCentral. Retrieved September 30th, 2014 from http://psychcentral.com/lib/african-american-women-and-depression/00020415 

related: Mums the Word, ... Black Folks and Mental Health: Why Do We Suffer in Silence?

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