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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Minority Health

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Preconception Peer Educators

Mental and Behavioral Health - 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 twice as likely to report psychological distress.
  • In 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death for African Americans, ages 15 to 24.1
  • The death rate from suicide for African American men was more than four times greater than for African American women, in 2017.
  • However, the overall suicide rate for African Americans is 60 percent lower than that of the non-Hispanic white population.
  • African American females, grades 9-12, were 70 percent more likely to attempt suicide in 2017, as compared to non-Hispanic white females of the same age.
  • 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 percent, as compared to 120 percent of non-Hispanic whites.2

MENTAL HEALTH STATUS

Serious psychological distress in the past 30 days among adults 18 years of age and over, percent, 2015-2016
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
3.6
3.7
1.0

Source: CDC, 2018. Health United States, 2017. Table 46.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus17.pdf [PDF | 10.22MB]


Serious psychological distress in the past 30 days among adults 18 years of age and over, percent of poverty level, 2015-2016
 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Below 100%
7.6
12.1
0.6
100% - less than 200%
3.9
7.6
0.5
200% - less than 400%
2.8
3.1
0.9

Source: CDC, 2018. Health United States, 2017. Table 46.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus17.pdf [PDF | 10.22MB]


Percent of population with feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or that everything is an effort, all or most of the time, among persons 18 years of age and over, 2017
 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Sadness
4.3
2.6
1.7
Hopelessness
2.1
1.9
1.1
Worthlessness
1.8
1.8
1.0
Everything is an effort
10.3
6.1
1.7

Source: CDC 2019. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2017. Table A-7.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm


Percent of population with serious psychological distress among persons 18 years of age and over, 2017
 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
2.6
2.7
1.0
Women
3.7
4.2
0.9
Total
3.2
3.4
0.9

Source: CDC 2019. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2017. Table A-8.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

DEATH RATES

Age-adjusted death rates for suicide, by sex, race and Hispanic origin, 2017
 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black /Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Male
11.4
28.2
0.4
Female
2.8
7.9
0.4
Total
6.9
17.8
0.4

Source: CDC, 2019. National Vital Statistics Report. Vol. 68, No. 09. Table 10.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr68/nvsr68_09.pdf [PDF | 2MB]


Age-adjusted death rates for suicide, age, race and Hispanic origin, 2016
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
6.3
17.0
0.4

Source: CDC, 2018. Health United States, 2017. Table 30.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus17.pdf [PDF | 10.22MB]


Death rates for suicide, age, race and Hispanic origin, 2016: Men
 
Non-Hispanic Black Men
Non-Hispanic White Men
Non-Hispanic Black Men / Non-Hispanic White Men Ratio
15-24 years
15.4
26.6
0.6
25-44 years
17.1
24.5
0.7
45-64 years
10.0
33.5
0.3
65 years and over
8.9
36.5
0.2
All ages
10.6
36.1
0.3

Source: CDC, 2018. Health United States, 2017. Table 30.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus17.pdf [PDF | 10.22MB]


Death rates for suicide, age, race and Hispanic origin, 2016: Women
 
Non-Hispanic Black Women
Non-Hispanic White Women
Non-Hispanic Black Women / Non-Hispanic White Women Ratio
15-24 years
4.0
6.1
0.7
25-44 years
3.8
10.3
0.4
45-64 years
2.3
13.0
0.2
65 years and over
1.4
6.2
0.2
All ages
2.4
7.9
0.3

Source: CDC, 2018. Health United States, 2017. Table 30.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus17.pdf [PDF | 10.22MB]

ADOLESCENTS

Death rates for suicide: ages 15 - 19, 2017
 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Male
11.7
22.0
0.5
Female
4.0
5.8
0.7
Total
7.9
14.1
0.6

Source: CDC, 2019. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [Accessed 08/02/2019]
https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html


Suicidal ideation among students in grades 9–12, 2017
Percent of students who seriously considered suicide
 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
6.6
13.0
0.5
Women
22.4
21.2
1.1
Total
14.7
17.3
0.8

Source: CDC 2019. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data.
Available at https://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline. [Accessed 08/02/2019]


Suicidal ideation among students in grades 9–12, 2017
Percent of students who attempted suicide
 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
6.7
4.6
1.5
Women
12.5
7.3
1.7
Total
9.8
6.1
1.6

Source: CDC 2019. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data.
Available at https://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline. [Accessed 08/02/2019]

ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE

Percent of adults age 18 and over who received mental health services in the past year, 2018
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
8.7
18.6
0.5

SAMHSA, 2019. Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Detailed Tables. Table 8.17B
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2018-nsduh-detailed-tables


Percent of adults age 18 and over who received prescription medications for mental health services, 2018
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
6.2
15.3
0.4

SAMHSA, 2019. Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Detailed Tables. Table 8.21B
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2018-nsduh-detailed-tables


Percent of adults age 18 and over with past year major depressive episode who received treatment for the depression, 2018
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
61.2
68.5
0.9

SAMHSA, 2019. Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Detailed Tables. Table 8.39B
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2018-nsduh-detailed-tables


1 CDC. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). [Accessed 08/02/2019]. http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html

2 U.S. Surgeon General, 2001. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44251

9/25/2019 11:46:00 AM