Mental Illness in the African American Community

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With the exception of African American celebrities or public figures who experience mental trauma such as Illinois Representative Jessie Jackson Jr., or commit suicide as in the death of hip hop legend Chris Lighty, mental health remains largely absent from the public discourse in the Black community.

But, the statistics are loud and clear. African Americans are 20% more likely to report having serious psychological distress than non-Hispanic Whites according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Serv...ices offices of Minority Services. Yet, young adult African Americans, especially those with higher levels of education, are less likely to seek mental health services than their White counterparts according to the study published by the American Psychological Association. When the evidence proves African Americans are disproportionately more likely to experience circumstances that increase the chances of having a mental illness or challenge, it begs the question: why do so many African Americans suffer in silence?

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