Promoting Mental Health Among Middle-Aged African Americans

Introduction

Mental conditions are common among the African American communities, and there needs to be an increased rate of treatment as well. Symptoms of depression have more been identified in the middle-aged African Americans dwelling within communities. Healthy people, 2020 has identified many types of research for the improvement and prevention of disorders affecting the mind through quality services (Asian, 2014). They determine the disease burden resulting from mental illness to be among the highest in the United States.

The paper will discuss the measures necessary to promote mental health among middle-aged African Americans. The articles used will, therefore, be directed towards the goal of prevention and health promotion among these community members. Prevention is important in health promotion since it helps raise awareness, lower the risk of other physical disorders and enhance the maintenance of community’s health. There is a close connection between physical and mental health since depression and anxiety are known to affect the ability of individuals to participate in health-promoting behavior that is critical for their well-being.

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African American Community

The African Americans lack knowledge of the situations leading to the development of mental disorders. They associate these conditions with personal weakness or religious issues. There is also much stigma and shame related to the condition among the community members that leads to failure to seek help in case an individual is affected. Statistics show that there is a 20% higher probability for the African Americans to be affected by mental conditions as compared to the whites. Also, there is only about five percent of the population are involved as mental health professionals hence their inability to access the required services in times of need.

Articles Summary

A study conducted among the African Americans, middle-aged men and women, focused on their attitudes, beliefs and coping strategies of those with mental illnesses (Ward, Wiltshire, Detry & Brown, 2013). The results indicated that individuals had little concern about psychological problems and there was a delay in seeking treatment as they preferred religious coping behavior. There is, therefore, a recommendation for the adoption of psychoeducation interventions in improving the awareness of the community on this health issue (Ward et al., 2013). Studies indicate that African Americans experience more severe mental health conditions since they are mostly the victims of violent crimes.

Another study by Mama et al. (2016) indicates that psychosocial aspects mediated the association between mental health and the social setting. The social class and status of the African Americans were a significant contributor to their perceived racial discrimination, stress and symptoms of depression that lead to poor mental health (Mama et al., 2016). The results of the study showed that psychosocial factors contributed to the relationship between mental health and the social environment of the given community.  In this case, the promotion of health and wellness in the community may focus on biological approaches to reduce disparities within the community and improve the quality of life (Mama et al., 2016).

Similarly, a study conducted within the African-American community adults focused on the barriers that prevented the women from seeking mental health services (Snowden, Libby & Thomas, 2014). Those examined were shown to have a common belief that mental problems are chronic and bring about adverse clinical outcomes.  They did not consider the use of pharmacotherapy as they endorsed counseling and a prayer as the best coping strategies. Moreso, there were treatment seeking barriers such as lack of awareness, stigma and poor access to care (Snowden, Libby & Thomas, 2014).

Health Promotion Project Discussion

The information from the articles will be imperative in the use of health promotion strategies. The reduced level of knowledge within the African American community and their health seeking behavior will lead to the establishment of educational programs for the adult population. As such, different approaches will be used in educating the community concerning mental conditions. First, the religious leaders will be recruited into the training team since they are known to have a high impact on the decisions that individuals make concerning their personal lives. The belief in the effectiveness of using religion as an alternative way to deal with psychological issues will ensure that they understand its impact on their individual health and that of the community. On the other hand, the adult population will be divided by their gender and educated separately on the effects of mental health as enhanced by various gender specific issues. The nurses and other health care providers will, therefore, be involved in providing community-based services for the African Americans in particular for the middle-aged in reducing the gap experienced in mental health.

Conclusion

Health promotion is necessary on the issue of mental well-being among the African American society. The adult population is profoundly affected since the form a large part of the working community and if changed leads to an effect on the economic and social aspects. Educational programs will be established to help the community understand more about mental conditions and identify the best coping strategies and prevention methods. The use of different religious affiliations in training individuals and establishment of community-based education program are among the strategies employed in the provided initiative for the promotion of health. different healthcare providers will also be involved in educating the community on importance of seeking treatment for mental illnesses.

 

References

Asian, P. I. (2014). HEALTHY PEOPLE 2020. Community/Public Health Nursing Practice: Health for Families and Populations, 41, 192.

Mama, S. K., Li, Y., Basen-Engquist, K., Lee, R. E., Thompson, D., Wetter, D. W., … & McNeill, L. H. (2016). Psychosocial mechanisms linking the social environment to mental health in African Americans. PloS one, 11(4), e0154035.

Snowden, L. R., Libby, A., & Thomas, K. (2014). Health-care-related attitudes and utilization among African American women. Black Women’s Health: A Special Double Issue of Women’s Health: Research on Gender, Behavior, and Policy, 301.

Ward, E., Wiltshire, J. C., Detry, M. A., & Brown, R. L. (2013). African American men and women’s attitude toward mental illness, perceptions of stigma, and preferred coping behaviors. Nursing research, 62(3), 185.