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Mental Health and African Americans

  • Poverty level affects mental health status. African Americans living below the poverty level, as compared to those over twice the poverty level, are 3 times more likely to report psychological distress.
  • African Americans are 10% more likely to report having serious psychological distress than Non-Hispanic whites.
  • The death rate from suicide for African American men was four times that for African American women, in 2013.
  • However, the suicide rate for African Americans is 60% lower than that of the Non-Hispanic white population.
  • A report from the U.S. Surgeon General found that from 1980 - 1995, the suicide rate among African Americans ages 10 to 14 increased 233%, as compared to 120% of Non-Hispanic whites.
  • 1

MENTAL HEALTH STATUS

Serious psychological distress among adults 18 years of age and over, percent, 2013-2014

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
3.4
3.2
1.1

Source: CDC, 2016. Health United States, 2015. Table 46.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus15.pdf [PDF | 13.03MB]

 

Serious psychological distress among adults 18 years of age and over, percent of poverty level, 2013-2014

 
African American
Non-Hispanic White
African American/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Below 100%
7.4
10.7
0.7
100% - less than 200%
3.5
6.5
0.5
200% - less than 400%
2.3
2.7
0.9

Source: CDC, 2016. Health United States, 2015. Table 46.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus15.pdf [PDF | 13.03MB]

 

Percent of population with feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or that everything is an effort, all of the time, among persons 18 years of age and over, 2014

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Sadness
3.6
2.4
1.5
Hopelessness
2.3
1.7
1.4
Worthlessness
1.7
1.5
1.1
Everything is an effort
9.5
5.0
1.9

Source: CDC 2016. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2014. Table A-7.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

Percent of population with feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or that everything is an effort all of the time, among persons 18 years of age and over, 2014 - Men

 
Non-Hispanic Black Men
Non-Hispanic White Men
Non-Hispanic Black Men/ Non-Hispanic White Men Ratio
Sadness
3.1
1.8
1.7
Hopelessness
2.1
1.5
1.4
Worthlessness
1.5
1.4
1.1
Everything is an effort
8.9
4.3
2.1

Source: CDC 2016. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2014. Table A-7.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

Percent of population with feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or that everything is an effort all of the time, among persons 18 years of age and over, 2014 - Women

 
Non-Hispanic Black Women
Non-Hispanic White Women
Non-Hispanic Black Women/ Non-Hispanic White Women Ratio
Sadness
3.9
2.9
1.3
Hopelessness
2.4
1.9
1.3
Worthlessness
1.8
1.6
1.1
Everything is an effort
9.9
5.8
1.7

Source: CDC 2016. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2014. Table A-7.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

Percent of population with feelings of nervousness or restlessness, among persons 18 years of age and over, 2014

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Nervousness, all or most of time
4.0
4.6
0.9
Restlessness, all or most of time
5.4
6.0
0.9

Source: CDC 2016. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2014. Table A-8.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

DEATH RATES

Age-Adjusted Death Rates for suicide, by sex, race and Hispanic Origin, 2013

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black /Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Male
9.7
25.3
0.4
Female
2.0
7.1
0.3
Total
5.6
15.9
0.4

Source: CDC, 2016. National Vital Statistic Report. Vol. 64, Num 02 Table 17.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_02.pdf [PDF | 7.31MB]

 

Age-adjusted death rates for suicide, by race, 2014

African American
Non-Hispanic White
African American/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
5.5
16.4
0.3

Source: CDC, 2016. Health United States, 2015. Table 17.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus15.pdf [PDF | 13.03MB]

 

Death rates for suicide, age, race and Hispanic origin, 2014: Men

 
African American Men
Non-Hispanic White Men
African American Men/ Non-Hispanic White Men Ratio
15-24 years
12.0
22.4
0.5
25-44 years
14.3
31.7
0.5
45-64 years
9.9
37.1
0.3
65 years and over
8.9
36.1
0.2
All ages
9.4
25.8
0.4

Source: CDC, 2016. Health United States, 2015. Table 30.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus15.pdf [PDF | 13.03MB]

 

Death rates for suicide, age, race and Hispanic origin, 2014: Women

 
African American Women
Non-Hispanic White Women
African American Women/ Non-Hispanic White Women Ratio
15-24 years
2.6
5.4
0.5
25-44 years
2.9
9.8
0.3
45-64 years
2.7
12.6
0.2
65 years and over
1.3
5.8
0.2
All ages
2.1
7.5
0.3

Source: CDC, 2016. Health United States, 2015. Table 30.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus16.pdf [PDF | 13.03MB]

ADOLESCENTS

Death Rates for Suicide: Ages 15 - 19, 2014

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Male
6.8
16.6
0.4
Female
2.2
4.8
0.5
Total
4.5
10.9
0.4

Source: CDC, 2016. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [ACCESSED 06/20/2016]
http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html

 

Suicidal ideation among students in grades 9–12, 2015
Percent of students who seriously considered suicide


 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
11.0
11.5
1.0
Women
18.7
22.8
0.8
Total
14.5
17.2
0.8

Source: CDC 2016. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data.
Available at http://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline. [Accessed 06/20/2016]

 

Suicidal ideation among students in grades 9–12, 2015
Percent of students who attempted suicide


 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
7.2
3.7
1.9
Women
10.2
9.8
1.0
Total
8.9
6.8
1.3

Source: CDC, 2016. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. [Accessed 06/20/2016]
http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline

ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE

Percent of Adults age 18 and over who received mental health treatment or counseling in the past year, 2008

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Male
6.4
10.8
0.6
Female
10.5
20.8
0.5
Total
8.7
16.0
0.5

Source: 2010 National Healthcare Disparities Report. Table 17_3_1.2b
http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/qrdr10/index.html

 

Percent of Adults age 18 and over who received prescription medications for mental health treatment or counseling, 2008

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Male
3.9
9.1
0.4
Female
8.1
18.3
0.4
Total
6.2
13.9
0.4

Source: 2010 National Healthcare Disparities Report. Table 17_3_3.2b
http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/qrdr10/index.html

 

Adults age 18 and over with past year major depressive episode who received treatment for the depression, 2012

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
62.1
72.0
0.9

Source: National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports. Data Query: Table 6_7_1_1_1.1. [Accessed 06/20/2016]
http://nhqrnet.ahrq.gov/inhqrdr/data/query


1 U.S. Surgeon General, 2001. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44251
Last Modified: 7/19/2016 4:19:00 PM