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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 epidose 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


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