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Black Men and Depression

There is a pretty pervasive stigma when it comes to suffering from mental health issues, but when it comes to black men who suffer from depression the subject is rarely discussed.
 
NPR has been examining mental health issues for the past month, and its most recent interview is with John Head, author of Standing in the Shadows: Understanding and Overcoming Depression in Black Men. In this interview, Head explains his own battle with depression. He also links racial stereotypes to the mental health of black men, and explains that it is critical that black men seek treatment for depression. This echoes the argument that Dean Ornish, M.D. made about racism affecting people’s overall health.
 
“When I was in the depths of my worst depression there was nothing good about me that I was willing to admit. I thought everything bad that was said about a black man was true about me,” Head says. “When you’re willing to accept those negative stereotypes…you’re in a very bad place, especially for a black person.”
 
Head explains that living healthier through exercise and a healthy diet is an important first step towards combating depression. He also says that calling on one’s trusted social network to vent about what you’re going through is hugely important in realizing that you’re not alone. [NPR]

Posted: 4/1/08