Book Discusses Mental Health Among Blacks

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U.S. News & World Report on Wednesday interviewed social worker andpublic relations professional Terrie Williams, who wrote the new book,"Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting."

According to Williams, members of the black community tend to mask or disregardsigns of depression, which can mean that many blacks with mental healthproblems do not receive treatment. She said, "Depression is a sign ofweakness in the black community. Black people would rather say that they have arelative in jail before they will acknowledge that they have a mentalillness."

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In addition, blacks are less likely than others to have "comforts,"such as mental health services, massage or yoga, that could help them withdepression, Williams said. She added, "If you don't have access to thosecomforts that cushion what you're going through, that in and of itself makes(dealing with depression) different and very difficult."

Williams' book also says that misdiagnosis of depression is common amongblacks. She said, "We're perceived to be the ones who can handle ourbusiness, and so there is that tendency to not recognize depression inAfrican-Americans. In general, I think there's a lack of knowledge about theblack experience with depression" (Payne, U.S. News & WorldReport, 1/16).

Reprinted withpermission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly HealthDisparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of TheHenry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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