A new study led by Rosalyn Denise Campbell, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Georgia, finds that the stigma of mental illness in the African American community has a major dragging effect on the rate of Black Americans who seek treatment for depression.
The study involves interviews with African Americans who suffer from depression. Dr. Campbell reports that “I can’t tell you how many times in these interviews people have said, ‘I don’t talk about this.’ Because African-Americans are already marginalized, there is no rush to adopt another marginalized, stigmatizing identity.”
Dr. Campbell’s research suggests that Black Americans are often thwarted from seeking depression treatment before they even enter the system, due to fears of being stigmatized by their friends and family as “less than African-American.” And there is often a hesitancy to trust in treatment by the medical establishment.
Dr. Campbell is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in sociology. She holds a master of social work degree and a Ph.D. in social work and sociology from the University of Michigan.
The study, “The Stigma of Depression: Black American Experiences,” was published on the website of the Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work. It was co-authored by Orion Mowbray, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Georgia. It may be accessed here.