Although it isn’t freely discussed, depression in Black men is an issue that is all too real. Due to stigma surrounding mental illness, men of color will often suffer in silence, thinking they should simply be able to deal with the pressures of life on their own, believing that otherwise they are to be considered “weak.”
Thankfully, these kinds of negative feelings surrounding seeking help are slowly beginning to dissolve, as more and more people begin to speak up about what they’re going through. Michael B. Jordan, for instance, recently opened up about going to therapy. Jordan revealed his role in Black Panther had unexpected effects on his ability to function in real life.
“When it was all over, I think just being in that kind of mind state…it caught up with me,” he said of playing Erik Killmonger. “Readjusting to people caring about me, getting that love that I shut out. I shut out love, I didn’t want love. I wanted to be in this lonely place as long as I could.” Jordan says going to therapy definitely helped him out a lot, adding that “As a man you get a lot of slack for it…I don’t really subscribe to that. Everyone needs to unpack and talk.”
So, how do you know you need to “unpack and talk?” Well, again, because Black men suffer so silently, you could have some trouble recognizing the signs of depression in yourself and in others, but marriage and family therapist Patrice N. Douglas has listed some symptoms to pay attention to.
1. Increase In Physical Pain Or Chronic Medical Issues
Chronic pain and digestive issues can be related to depression.
2. Loss Of Focus
Depression can slow down a man’s ability to process information, thereby impairing concentration on work or other tasks.
Men at times manifest hostility, aggressiveness, and anger when depressed. It’s more than irritability and can strike at the smallest things.
4. Substance Abuse
Men often engage in substances such as alcohol and marijuana to “numb” the pain as a coping skill. Substance abuse can be a trigger to increase depressive symptoms.
5. Sexual Dysfunction
Men are less likely to report erectile dysfunction when depressed, which can cause depression to worsen. Many suffer from sexual dysfunction due to medical conditions/medications which can cause depression.
6. Suicide Thoughts
Men are 4x likely to die by suicide and 7-8 Black men die daily from death by suicide.
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