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Sunday, September 18, 2016


After spending twelve months in a disadvantaged predominantly Black neighborhood in the Midwest to understand how African Americans perceive depression, Alang suggests that clinicians and researchers should be asking if the instruments they use to diagnose and assess depression are really valid among African Americans....

In the study, Alang suggests that African Americans perceive depression as a weakness inconsistent with notions of strength in the community, rather than as a health condition.  

This is what I meant when I said "Black people think a psychologist is for white women who burnt the pot roast three nights in a row, then had a nervous breakdown because her husband frowned at her"

The study results have significant implications for the clinical assessment of depression and for the measurement of depression in community surveys.

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I have always suspected that white psychologists are ill equipped to help black people in mental distress. Always. Most black people probably have. This is why I think a black person should make an effort to see a black psychologist in times of trouble since, I assume, a reasonably intelligent black psychologist would try to adjust his diagnostic tools based on his or her own black experience.

But we need American science publications (white dominated) to catch up to reality sooner rather than later.  Black people need to be able to get mental health care anywhere and and from anyone, not just from a sliver of our own 13%, the ones who happen to choose psychology or psychiatry as a profession.