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  • Tanisha Herrin

Depression and African Americans: Why Blacks Need to Keep the Dialogue Going

People of all backgrounds experience depression, but in the black community, we feel it is something more than just prolonged feelings of sadness. It’s obvious it affects our community differently than other ethnic backgrounds. So why isn’t depression (black depression) discussed more often in the black community?

Gain and Exchange Knowledge

Blacks are more likely to be misdiagnosed or undertreated for depression. While blacks need to be open about what they are feeling and related triggers, it is also a problem for people outside of the black community. Having more doctors of color may help to encourage blacks to get help, but doctors not of color need to learn more about how depression affects blacks to ensure effective treatment results. The exchange won’t happen if we don’t talk about it.

Change the Label and Perception

Blacks overlook the idea of getting treated to avoid being viewed as weak. How can you be labeled as weak if you’re taking control to make things right? How about we stop letting others put a label on our actions? Whatever happened to taking the lead with positive action in hopes of others following? Why let a label you know isn’t true keep you from getting help? We need to work on changing the perception of depression in the black community, and it won’t change unless we talk about it.

Blacks Need to Stop Being Blind to It

Many blacks don’t see depression as a serious health problem. It simply gets overlooked, or they don’t realize it is a problem in their lives affecting their daily living. There are different elements of depression in the black community to address such as how it affects kids, teens, adults, and seniors. It is not okay to feel gloomy, irritable, or angry all the time. Depression can affect how you make a judgment of things, people, and situations around you. Depression affects blacks on so many levels. If we take more time to acknowledge what we’re feeling it will be clear what we are dealing with and how to fix it.

There is a perception among African Americans that depression will go away on its own. Few are living with it every day affecting how they live their lives. It is a contributing factor behind blacks choosing unhealthy habits while increasing the risk of dealing with health-related issues. We find it too easy to run away from the problem, but instead, we’re suppressing feelings and emotions by keeping them bottled up. Daily tasks become more difficult than they should be and unresolved issues within oneself or with others become too much.

With so many options for depression help and support, why not take advantage so you can feel better? What will it take to break the comfort zone of this habit? How can more blacks be active in discussing the issue?

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