African-American Women and Depression
African-American women are estimated to have depression rates 50 percent higher than depression rates of Caucasian women. Studies on this subject vary, but most mental health professionals believe that studies show lower rates of depressed African-American women because African-American women do not seek treatment help for mental health issues as often as Caucasian women do.
What Causes High Rates of Depression in African-American Women?
There are several factors that put African-American women at a heightened risk for depression. First and foremost, women in general are more susceptible to depression because of biological processes. Women are more likely to develop chemical imbalances due to the frequent changing of hormone levels and production from monthly menstrual cycles, pregnancy, menopause and more. Also, African-American women face many social factors that put them at a higher risk for developing depression and other mental health issues. A few of these social factors include, racism, discrimination, cultural alienation, violence, stereotypes and stigmas and sexual exploitation. Socio-economic factors have also made it more of a challenge for African-American women to find quality health care programs and insurance coverage.
Racial issues in the past have also impacted the attitudes and beliefs of African-Americans towards mental health professionals. Historically, mental health professionals did not offer the best care for African-American individuals. Mental health issues like depression were under-diagnosed, and more severe disorders like schizophrenia or psychosis were over-diagnosed. The African-American community would then avoid seeking help because of the poor treatment and inaccurate diagnoses they would receive.
As time went on, many African-Americans grew wary of the mental health field, even deeming it a “white” health care system. Thus, instead of seeking clinical, professional treatment, African-Americans are more likely to believe that religious, family and community support will pull them through difficult times.
Changing African-American Attitudes about Mental Health Issues and Treatment
It is important to overcome these attitudes and challenges facing African-American women with depression and other mental health issues. Depression is a deliberating illness, and without treatment can lead to severe repercussions, from job loss to substance abuse. Depression can be managed with the right treatment and individuals will greatly improve their health, wellbeing and quality of life when they find the treatment options best suited to their individual needs. There have been several efforts made to provide the treatment programs, support groups and recovery services desired by African-American individuals and communities.
Finding Recovery Help for Depression and Other Mental Health Issues
To find treatment and recovery services that specialize in the unique needs of African-American women, women in general, or other cultural groups, call our toll-free helpline and speak with a recovery professional today. We have connections to the top-rated treatment and recovery services across the country, and are determined to connect people with individualized treatment and recovery help. To learn more about your options for managing depression and other mental health issues, call and speak with a recovery professional anytime, 24 hours day.