Depression and the Black Woman

The myths and stigma that surround depression create needless pain and confusion, and can keep people from getting proper treatment. In the black community, that stigma is magnified.

According to, while an estimated 60 percent of black women suffer from depression, only 7 percent  receive any treatment, compared with 20 percent of the, general population.

The following statements reflect some common misconceptions about Blacks and depression:

  • “Why are you depressed? If our people could make it through slavery, we can make it through anything.”
  • “When a black woman suffers from a mental disorder, the opinion is that she is weak. And weakness in black women is intolerable.”
  • “You should take your troubles to Jesus, not some stranger/psychiatrist.”

The truth is that getting help is a sign of strength. People with depression can’t just “snap out of it.” While spiritual support can be an important part of healing, the care of a qualified mental health professional is essential. And the earlier treatment begins the more effective it can be.