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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 20% more likely to report having serious psychological distress than Non-Hispanic Whites.
  • Non-Hispanic Whites are more than twice as likely to receive antidepressant prescription treatments as are Non-Hispanic Blacks.
  • The death rate from suicide for African American men was almost four times that for African American women, in 2009.
  • 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, 2009-2010

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
3.8
3.1
1.2

Source: CDC, 2012. Health United States, 2011. Table 59.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus11.pdf [PDF | 9.8MB]

 

Serious psychological distress among adults 18 years of age and over, percent of poverty level, 2009-2010

 
African American
Non-Hispanic White
African American/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Below 100%
8.3
10.1
0.8
100% - less than 200%
3.5
5.5
0.6
200% - less than 400%
2.5
3.2
0.8

Source: CDC, 2012. Health United States, 2011. Table 59.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus11.pdf [PDF | 9.8MB]

 

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, 2010

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Sadness
4.2
2.8
1.5
Hopelessness
2.4
2.0
1.2
Worthlessness
2.1
1.7
1.2
Everything is an effort
9.9
5.6
1.8

Source:  CDC 2012. Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: 2010. Table 14.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_252.pdf [PDF | 8.43MB]

 

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, 2010 - Men

 
Non-Hispanic Black Men
Non-Hispanic White Men
Non-Hispanic Black Men/ Non-Hispanic White Men Ratio
Sadness
3.0
2.5
1.2
Hopelessness
2.0
1.9
1.1
Worthlessness
1.8
1.6
1.1
Everything is an effort
9.2
4.9
1.9

Source:  CDC 2012. Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: 2010. Table 14.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_252.pdf[PDF | 3.1MB]

 

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, 2010 ---Women

 
Non-Hispanic Black Women
Non-Hispanic White Women
Non-Hispanic Black Women/ Non-Hispanic White Women Ratio
Sadness
5.2
3.2
1.6
Hopelessness
2.8
2.1
1.3
Worthlessness
2.5
1.9
1.3
Everything is an effort
10.4
6.1
1.7

Source:  CDC 2012. Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: 2010. Table 14.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_252.pdf [PDF | 3.1MB]

 

Percent of population with feelings of nervousness or restlessness, among persons 18 years of age and over, 2010

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Nervousness, all or most of time
3.8
4.9
0.8
Restlessness, all or most of time
7.4
6.4
1.2

Source:  CDC 2012. Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: 2010. Table 16.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_252.pdf [PDF | 8.43MB]

DEATH RATES

Age-Adjusted Death Rates for suicide, by sex, race and Hispanic Origin, 2009

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black /Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Male
9.3
23.2
0.4
Female
1.9
6.0
0.3
Total
5.3
14.3
0.4

Source:  CDC, 2012. National Vital Statistic Report. Vol. 60, Num 03 Table 17.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_03.pdf [PDF | 2MB]

 

Age-adjusted death rates for suicide, by race, 2009

African American
Non-Hispanic White
African American/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
5.2
14.3
0.4

Source: CDC, 2012. Health United States, 2011. Table 24.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus11.pdf [PDF | 9.8MB]

 

Death rates for suicide, age, race and Hispanic origin, 2009: Men

 
African American Men
Non-Hispanic White Men
African American Men/ Non-Hispanic White Men Ratio
15-24 years
10.5
18.9
0.6
25-44 years
12.9
28.8
0.4
45-64 years
10.2
33.7
0.3
65 years and over
9.9
33.1
0.3
All ages
9.0
23.2
0.4

Source: CDC, 2012. Health United States, 2011. Table 39.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus11.pdf [PDF | 9.8MB]

 

Death rates for suicide, age, race and Hispanic origin, 2009: Women

 
African American Women
Non-Hispanic White Women
African American Women/ Non-Hispanic White Women Ratio
15-24 years
2.2
4.0
0.6
25-44 years
2.7
8.1
0.3
45-64 years
2.6
10.6
0.2
65 years and over
1.0
4.5
0.2
All ages
1.9
6.0
0.3

Source: CDC, 2012. Health United States, 2011. Table 39.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus11.pdf [PDF | 9.8MB]

ADOLESCENTS

Death Rates for Suicide: Ages 15 - 19, 2009

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Male
7.0
14.0
0.5
Female
1.8
3.5
0.5
Total
4.5
8.9
0.5

Source:  CDC, 2012. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [ACCESSED 07/07/2012]
http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html

 

Suicidal ideation among students in grades 9–12, 2009
Percent of students who seriously considered suicide


 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
7.8
10.5
0.7
Women
18.1
16.1
1.1

Source:  CDC, 2012. Health United States, 2011. Table 67.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus11.pdf [PDF, 9.8MB]

 

Suicidal ideation among students in grades 9–12, 2011
Percent of students who attempted suicide


 
Black
White
Black/ White Ratio
Men
7.7
4.6
1.7
Women
8.8
7.9
1.1
Total
8.3
6.2
1.3

Source: CDC, 2012. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. [Accessed 07/07/2012]
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, 2009

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
53.2
68.7
0.8

Source: 2011 National Healthcare Disparities Report. Table 7_1_1.2b
http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/qrdr11/index.html


1 U.S. Surgeon General, 2001. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44251
Last Modified: 9/25/2014 10:06:00 AM