Black Men and Depression…Where Do You Stand?

Study Says Black Men With Higher Incomes Are More Likely to Be Depressed

African-American men earning more than $80,000 a year are just as likely to suffer from depression as their jobless counterparts, according to a study from the National Survey of American Life.

African-American men who made $80,000 were more apt to report symptoms of depression in the last year compared to African-American men making $17,000 or less. Unemployed African-American men were more liable to report depression in the last year and over their lifetime compared to employed African-American men. African-American men who completed some college or beyond were less likely to suffer from depression in the last year compared to those who did not complete high school.

Darryl Hudson, PhD at the Center on Social Disparities in Health at the University of San Francisco said that the depression in affluent Black men could be linked to the stress of “integrated environments” where they are “more likely to be exposed to racial discrimination.” However, he cautions that the issue is less about blame than complexity, saying:

“African-Americans with greater socioeconomic resources are farther away from their social support network, both physically and socially.”

African-American men with high incomes tend to be “riding solo,” said Earlise Ward, Ph.D.

She gives several reasons for the higher onset of depression including;

  • tokenism
  • lack of African-American role models
  • social isolation from peers who make less money
  • pressure from family and friends to provide for them

“When all these things come together, you have the perfect storm for depression with African- American men making over $80,000,” said Ward, a psychologist and assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing. She had no affiliation with the study.

Ward also notes that Single African-American men were more apt to be depressed than married African-American men both in the short and long term.

“It is clear. Marriage is protective for men suffering from depression,” Ward said.

Ward is rallying for both prevention and intervention programs in the community stating that; “African-American men are particularly vulnerable to unemployment, particularly those who suffer from depression. This data was collected from 2001 to 2003 but  the numbers could possibly be higher now in 2013.


This information is not at all shocking to me. I think more needs to be done to give men in higher positions more access to the community, so they won’t feel so isolated. This is why I believe in being active in organizations like fraternities, 100 Black Men, etc. to ensure that Black men feel as though they have value and  a sense of belonging.

What do you think can be done in our community, to prevent and treat depression in African-American males?

Learn to take control of your mental health; go to the Dr. Owens Mental Health Prescreen Assessment and check your mental status today!

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