Clinical depression can affect anyone, regardless of race, gender, age, creed or income. Every year more than 19 million Americans suffer from some type of depressive illness. According to a Surgeon General’s report, African Americans are over-represented in populations that are particularly at risk for mental illness. Consider the following:
• African Americans are 30 percent 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.
Depression robs people of the enjoyment found in daily life and can even lead to suicide. The truth is that depression is not a normal part of life for any African American, regardless of age or life situation. Unfortunately, depression has often been misdiagnosed in the African American community. However, help is available.
What is clinical depression?
Depression ranges in seriousness from mild, temporary episodes of sadness to severe, persistent depression. Doctors use the term "clinical depression" to describe the more severe, persistent form of depression also known as "major depression" or "major depressive disorder."