Black Women & Depression: Stop Hurting and Start Healing

Health & Beauty / May 29, 2014

Depression is a painful mental condition in which a person becomes abnormally saddened and loses all hope in life. A bout of depression may come on after a traumatic event or for no apparent reason. Depending on the disorder, a depressive episode can last from one week to several years. Symptoms of depression include repetitive crying, hopelessness, fatigue, negative thoughts, oversleeping and incapacitation. Medics have had varying views on the causes of the depression. Some believe in the chemical imbalance theory while others blame hormones and environmental circumstances.



Because of cultural backgrounds, depression may be displayed differently among African-Americans, according to the Mental Health Awareness website. If you experience five or more of the following symptoms for longer than two weeks, if you feel suicidal or if the symptoms get in the way of your daily life, visit your doctor.


  • A constant sad, anxious or “empty” mood or excessive crying
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased appetite and weight gain
  • Persistent physical symptoms that don’t respond to treatment like headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, pessimism
  • Sleeping too much or too little, early morning walking
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts

Black Women and Depression

More than 19 million people in the United States suffer from depression. Out of those 19 million people, many of them are black women. Black women who have a genetic tendency to develop the condition are more likely to come down with it because of the everyday struggles such as single motherhood, job competition, financial problems, and other factors such as racism that may play a role in adding stress. Unfortunately, the culture of the black female is to always display strength. More than 50 percent of black women feel as though mental illness is a personal weakness. Many of these women suffer with it, damaging relationships and life opportunities in the process.

Depression is not a Mark

What black women in society need to realize is that depression is not a mark. Just because a person has a certain mental illness, does not mean that she will lose other people’s respect if she seeks treatment. Additionally, if someone does not respect a person who seeks treatment for this type of illness, then perhaps that person is a source of negative energy that aggravates the illness. Women who suffer from depression should only engage in relations with people who will bring a positive force of energy.

Stop Hurting and Start Healing

Any black female who believes that she may be suffering from depression should seek assessment and treatment as quickly as possible. Treatment is more effective the earlier the medical experts can diagnose the problem. Healing begins when that person reaches out to a person or organization that can help and takes forward steps to maintain a positive mental balance.

Some doctors will prescribe medications, which are excellent treatments for chemically induced depression. Other doctors may use behavioral, cognitive or talk therapy to treat a client. During therapy, a woman can learn coping mechanisms. She can learn how to use breathing and relaxation techniques that will take her mind to a more positive plateau. Additionally, a therapist can help to delve into her past and see if childhood trauma may have caused some of the depression.

Healing and improvement is definitely possible. It just takes effort on the part of the black female to be truly strong and turn toward the right source of help. With the proper medications and morale boosting strategies, a black woman can end up even stronger and more vibrant than she was before treatment.

As more voices join the chorus, may there be more dialogue in African-American communities about mental illness so that those inflicted with mood disorders have a chance to recover.

For more information about depression, visit


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