Spiritual Communites Helping People With Depression

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July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, which brings to light issues related to mental health treatment access within multicultural communities. Each July, we focus on embracing diversity and raising awareness of mental health needs and resources for individuals and families of all cultural backgrounds.

To illustrate the problem, consider that the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found that over a recent 15-year time span, suicide rates increased 233% among African-American children, compared to 120% among Caucasian American children. These rate are staggering. NAMI also found that African-Americans who are struggling with mental illness are much more likely to rely on family, friends, and religious communities than they are to seek support from mental health professionals.

Religious institutions should be encouraged to strengthen the types of support they are able to offer to their members struggling with depression, and recognize the things that they are already doing that may be useful in decreasing depression and increasing mental health stability. There are some good examples of ways in which traditional religious institutions within the African-American community offer support to their members who may be struggling with depression. Vivian, a Families for Depression Awareness supporter, brings education about depression to religious communities in Mississippi.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, learn how to help. Watch our Coping with Stress and Depression Webinar.

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If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 800-273-TALK or 911 immediately. For crisis support via text message, text LISTEN to 741741.