Depression overlooked in African American Community

Anikeyawna Barber


Photo Courtesy of RocketFacts.Com

Millions of people in the United States go through depression. Depressions is feelings of severe despondency and dejection. Depression can include feeling sad, crying spells, loss of sleep and appetite, weight loss or gain, Irritability and so much more. In a study reported in an article on All About Depression.Com, approximately 19 million Americans are affected by this disease but in many cases, it becomes overlooked, especially in African Americans.

Why is it so Hard to Treat?

According to Everyday Health, African Americans react differently to depression and they express feelings of overwhelming sadness when talking to someone. Rather than saying that they are sad, they will express that they are angry or irritable. Because African Americans express different feelings about their depression, it is harder for doctors to treat it. Doctors feel they may not be depressed and that it is something else. By doctors having a hard time understanding African Americans feelings and emotions, African Americans must deal with this disease longer than they are expected to. Some even say the reason why the African American community is overlooked is because of finical issues.

Many African Americans do not speak out about their illness because they may think that it’s a weakness to others and they do not want to be judged. In the black community, people are afraid to say exactly what’s going on with them in fear of rejection. It is best to speak up and let people know what’s going on with you. Find someone that you trust and lay it all on the table. Do not be afraid to let anyone know what is going on.

African American Depressive Sad Broken Heart Concept

Photo Courtesy of Africa Johnson

Mental health issues are a huge problem in the black community, especially concerning black women. Some say that they do not know that what they are dealing with is a serious problem, so they never seek professional help. Some African Americans do not realize that are dealing with this illness because they think it is normal. According to PsychCentral.Com, Black women are the most undertreated women for depression in the nation and it is a huge impact on the black community every day.


Arion’s Experience


Arion Jackson

Arion Jackson, a senior at Delaware State University, said that she feels it is not as highlighted enough in the black community and that it is real. Stress, school and personal issues triggered her depression. Arion has been dealing with depression for 6 to 8 years and has yet to get treated for it. When she first told her doctor about her feelings, she explained that her emotions towards everything was pure anger. At first, she brushed it off and did not take it seriously but then came to the realization that she needed help. “Deal with it before it deals with you,” stated Arion.

Types of Depression

Many people do not know that there are different forms of depression. They think that being depressed means that you are always sad, crying or just moody but it is not. People think that it is not even real. They say things to themselves like “Snap out of it” or “You’ll be ok”, and it makes them think that they are ok. It is proven that diseases like depression isn’t all in your head, it is real within the body and medication, counseling and even a healthy diet and exercise habits can help one to improve.

There are different forms of depression starting with major depression which is most common. This includes weight loss, loss of interest in things, feeling worthless or guilty. Another form is Persistent Depressive Disorder which lasts two years or longer and that can include change in appetite, sleeping too much or not enough, low self- esteem and feeling or being hopeless. Bipolar disorder sometimes called manic depression includes mood swings. Psychotic depression which includes hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. Postpartum Depression only occurs in woman weeks or months after childbirth. Premenstrual Dysphonic Disorder and that includes mood swings, anxiety, fatigue, trouble concentrating and more. Situation Depression is having trouble dealing with stress because something happened that was stressful.

What Gets in the Way of Help!different-religions

It was discussed in an article by Marquaysa Battle on Elite daily that blacks depend on their religion to help with mental illness. Some people think that the black community religion gets in the way of getting help with real mental illnesses. Marquayas stated that the black community bites their tongues in fear of “speaking bad things into existence”.

Within the black community, many have become aware that something is wrong with them mentally and want to get help but lack the funds. There are millions of people, not just blacks, who do not have insurance. To see a doctor, it could cost hundreds and thousands of dollars. Because people lack the funds, they are not allowed to get the help that they need to start treating this disease.

Depression is a serious disease, and it is overlooked in the black community a lot. Being that I am a black woman and I have friends and family dealing with this disease I have seen what it can do to them. I see them doubt that they have it and I have also seen where they have told their doctors the way that they feel, and it is brushed under the rug. This disease needs to be taken more seriously and not overlook. It is the time where we must take a stand and make sure no one is left alone, especially in the black community.

Categories: Features, Health

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