Black Experiences of Depression and Factors


Studies demonstrate that there is an increased rate of depression within our adolescent minorities, particularly amongst Black adolescents. 

The African American population has historically faced racism and oppression from slavery, to Jim Crow laws, and still face oppression today. Social comparisons between African Americans and Non-hispanic whites, in particular, show that Black adolescents commonly experience a ‘’stigma of inferiority’’ where it can negatively impact mental health depression levels. 

Schools and education policy reflects the historical context of inequality and evidence shows that the issue of inequality is still being perpetuated by segregation, un-equitable funding, and tracking. 

Segregation in Schools Impacts Black Adolescents Depression

  • Schools containing higher students in poverty tend to have a variety of setbacks including:
    • much weaker staff members
    • less high achieving peer groups
    • problems with health and nutrition
    • residential instability
    • single-parent households 
    • fewer home resources
    • high exposure to crime and gangs

Tracking in Schools Creates Inequality:

  • Minority students tend to have lower test scores due to standardized testing biases and less advantaged socioeconomic circumstances 
  • This leads to placing minority students in lower tracks, creating inequality
  • Low Track education is less engaging
    • Worksheet oriented
    • Slower paced
    • Less experienced teachers

Psychological distress, depression, and anger are natural responses of Black youth to racially hostile environments. Black youth who were aware of the discimination and racism are more depressed than those who never experienced discrimination.

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