Mental Wellness Among African Americans
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"Mental and emotional wellness is essential for overall health and wellbeing" 
Maxine Bigby Cunningham
Founder & CEO
Speaker | Author | Advocate

Volume 1, Issue 2

August 2013

Welcome to this issue of....

Keys to Mental and Emotional Wellness Solutions!

July was Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in which more intense light was directed to the mental health of African Americans and other racial/ethnic “minority” groups. The August 2013 issue of this newsletter continues the conversation about solutions to the inadequate treatment and recovery of African Americans who live with a mental illness or emotional disorder. 

Have you heard of intuitive body wellness? What's this? Make sure to check out the September issue where I'll feature a holistic wellness coach and practitioner who specializes in the unique area of wellness. 

Wellness Facts:
Examine these facts and figures regarding the state of mental and emotional wellness in African American communities.
  • Somatization – physical manifestation of physical illnesses related to mental & emotional wellness (e.g., gastro-intestinal ailments, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes) is higher among African Americans (15%) than their White counterparts (9%).
  • African Americans metabolize some medications more slowly than Whites, yet African Americans often receive higher doses of psychiatric medications.
  • African Americans are less likely to receive accurate psychiatric diagnoses than Whites.
  • Although African Americans report experiencing psychological distress 20% more than Whites, African Americans are less likely to seek treatment.
  • The low number of African American mental health professionals and the lack of cultural competency by other mental health professionals reduce the likelihood that African Americans will seek diagnosis and treatment.
  • Some folk view suffering as an expected experience for African Americans.
  • Stigma, silence, and spiritualism are significant practices and behaviors within many sectors of the African American community.

Wellness Strategies:
Effective teaching requires differentiated learning strategies. Likewise, effective health practices requires differentiated strategies for diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Consider these strategies:  
  • Compassionate and receptive messaging in African American communities and their institutions
  • Integration of physical and mental/emotional health services
  • Increased attention to mental/emotional wellness by the Black media
  • Support groups (individuals and families) in Black communities
  • Reading and discussion of books by African Americans who live with a diagnosis of mental illness, who have relatives or friends who have an illness and/or who provide mental health services to African Americans

These books by African American women about mental illness are among my favorite: 

72 Hour Hold 
Bebe Moore Campbell

Sometimes Mommy Gets Angry 
Bebe Moore Campbell

Black Pain, It May Not Look Like We Are Hurting
Hurting by Terrie M. Williams

Not Alone, Reflections on Faith and Depression 
Monica A. Coleman

Something Like Beautiful, One Single Mother’s Story 
Asha Bandele

A Secret Place 
Leslie J. Sherrod

Saving Our Last Nerve, The Black Woman’s Path to Mental Health 
Marilyn Martin, M.D., MPH

Power Walking, A Journey to Wholeness 
Maxine Bigby Cunningham

Willow Weep for Me, A Black Woman’s Journey Through Depression 
Meri Nana-Ama Danquah

This Fragile Life 
Charlotte Pierce-Baker
September 16 - 23, 2013 
National Wellness Week

September 28, 2013, 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Book Signing
Baltimore City Annual Book Festival
600 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

October 18 – 19, 2013  
Panelist – “After the Diagnosis”
Real Women Real Talk Round Table
Turf Valley Spa and Resort
Ellicott City, Maryland

Empowered Walking Enterprise LLC offers services and products to help individual, groups and communities seeking an optimal level of mental and emotional wellness.

Power Walking, A Journey to Wholeness is available online and at your local bookstore. To learn more, visit

Copyright © 2013 Empowered Walking Enterprises, LLC, All rights reserved.
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