Mental Health in the African American Community

Topics: African American, Disability, Mental disorder Pages: 8 (2509 words) Published: December 3, 2011
Mental Health in the African American Community

African Americans, can also be referred as the Afro Americans or the Black Americans, are the residents and citizen of the Unites States who have their roots linked to at least the partial ancestry of the native population of Sub-Saharan Africa. They are also the direct descendants of enslaved Africans that were within the boundaries of the present day United States. Most of the African Americas are the descendants from West Africa, while others may also the immigrant from various regions of the west, including, Africa, Caribbean, South American or Central American Nations. In the United States, African Americans are considered the single biggest racial minority. The history of African American starts back from the 16th Century, when a number of African slaves rose against Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon, a Spanish explorer, and developed to the present day, where Barack Obama has been elected as the president of the United States. Between all these years, there were a number of issue and problems that this particular community has faced, including slavery, racial discrimination, reconstruction, participation in the military conflicts of America, development of the Afro-American community and the Civil Right Movement. Racial discrimination is one of the most sensitive issues, considered in the present day American society (Belgrave, Allison, 2009, pp. 121-127). A number of agencies and programs are operational ensuring the protection of the rights of minorities. However, there are some schools of thought that claim the suppression of their rights in the present day society, on the basis of racial discrimination. We will consider the current policies and trends that are prevalent in the country for the protection and prevention of such issues and identify solutions and action plans for the rehabilitation of prevalent problems. African American Mental Health: Current Facts and Trends

According to a report presented by National Alliance on Mental Illness, considering the mental health of the African American communities, there are certain issues with the proper diagnosis of their mental ailments. For example, Schizophrenia has been over diagnosed in the African American communities. These biases in this diagnosis lead to miscalculation of facts and discrepancies in statistical data. Cultural influences and perceived biases against medial health care professionals prevent the African Americans for accessing mental care (Hill, Mann, Fitzgerald, 2011, pp. 41-49). Previous experiences like, misdiagnosis, cultural disparities and inadequate treatment procedures limit their participation in the process. Only 2% psychologist, 2% psychiatrists and 4% social workers in America are African Americans. Some studies indicate that African Americans are more comfortable in discussing their issue with family, social and religious communities for emotional support, rather than consulting a healthcare professional (Whitaker, 2000, pp. 12-17). Because of limited involvement with healthcare professionals, the mental illness significantly misunderstood and stigmatized in their communities. They are more likely to seek help from their local primary care doctors and avid specialty care. In assessing medical and metal care, African Americans are at a socioeconomic disadvantage. According to a research survey one third of the African American workers did not have medical insurance, in 2005. Metal ailments vary across cultures; therefore, it is important to understand the cultural influences in the mental conditions of a person, by the mental healthcare associations. Considering the statistics of African Americans in relation to the Caucasian Americans, there has been an increase on 233% in the rate of suicide, of the age bracket 10 to 14 years, compared to the Caucasian Americans, which in 120% during the last 15 years. Physical illnesses that results from mental disorders...
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