Depression in African American Men: A Review of What We Know and Where We Need to Go From Here

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Abstract

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States and affects an estimated 17 million people each year. Projections about depression have generated concern on both the domestic and global levels because of its impact on health outcomes and quality of life. We examined and summarized published research focusing on depression among African American men with the goal of identifying prevalence of depression, risk factors, treatment-seeking behaviors, and treatment-seeking barriers. In the use of a systematic review, inclusion criteria were studies focused on depression among African American or Black men, separated analysis by race and gender, and conducted in the United States. Each study was critically reviewed to identify depression prevalence, risk factors, treatment-seeking behaviors, and barriers. Only 19 empirical studies focusing on depression among African American men were identified in a 25-year time span. Findings suggest the prevalence of depression among African American men ranges from 5% to 10%, they face a number of risk factors, yet evidence low use of mental health services. Consequently, depression among African American men needs to be at the forefront of our research, practice, and outreach agendas. A focus on this group has the potential to reduce mental health disparities experienced by African American men.

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