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Racism May Affect Depression Care for Sisters

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The myth of always having to be a "strong Black woman" who can handle it all may not only affect our relationships but our mental health as well, concludes a new report from Oregon Health & Science University. The study -- conducted on women who scored 15 or higher on the Patient Health Questionnaire Depression scale -- found that our views of depression are largely influenced by racism and our mistrust of "White" healthcare system. The pressure to be a "strong Black woman" also doesn't help and often hampers Black women's ability to recognize and treat depression. "These women were extremely wary of most depression treatments and providers they associated with 'White' systems of care," said principal study investigator Dr. Christina Nicholas. "Although they acknowledged that violence, depression and substance abuse adversely affected their health, discussions about health care revolved around their perceptions of racism," Even when seeking out care for depression researchers found that Black women preferred community-based depression programs that addressed violence and substance abuse in our communities as part of healing. Study participants also preferred programs that were staffed by other African-Americans with the same life experiences.
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