Given the psychological burdens black males face as a result of racism, inequality, and economic oppression, combined with barriers to receiving appropriate mental health treatment and care, the concerns of the Black Mental Health Alliance should not be ignored. This fact sheet contains heartfelt testimonials, statistics describing the extent of the problem, and recommended actions encompassing prevention, service delivery, policies, and research.
- African-American men have suicide rates at least twice as high as women, and at least seven percent will develop depression in their lifetime.
- African Americans account for only two percent of psychologists and psychiatrists and four percent of social workers; a lack of culturally competent providers is a hindrance to black men receiving appropriate care. Lack of insurance coverage is another obstacle.
- Poverty, racism, and past trauma (especially violence) are the leading contributors to mental health disorders among young African-American men. The possibility of "being someone," attaining basic respect, and making a contribution to society is seldom a reality and particularly damaging to mental health.
- Black institutions, community leaders, and health professionals should promote participation in formal and informal systems that offer cooperative and self-help approaches to handling stress.
- More data are needed at the local and national level to support the development of evidence-based interventions and treatment.