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Take charge of your Health




April is Minority Health Month 


Mental Health

April is National Minority Health Month (NMHM), a time to raise awareness about the importance of improving the health of racial and ethnic minority communities and reducing health disparities.

The origin of National Minority Health Month was the 1915 establishment of National Negro Health Week by Booker T. Washington. Currently, all health organizations and Americans are encouraged to conduct appropriate programs and activities to promote healthfulness in minority and other communities experiencing health disparities.”  This month I want to highlight information on Mental and Physical Health 

  • The burden of mental illness in this country is among the highest of all diseases.

  • Mental disorders are among the most common causes of disability.

  • Research shows that African American men with depression are significantly LESS likely to seek help compared with White men with depression.  

  • Depression is not a weakness.

  • Depression is an illness that can cause disability and even death.

  • Depression is a treatable illness.

  • Depression is linked to Increased in suicide among African American 

When feelings of sadness, worry, and hopelessness last for weeks at a time and affect your ability to manage your daily life, you may be experiencing serious depression.

Both men and women get depressed, but men experience depression differently.

Mental health is a topic that many African Americans, especially men consider taboo and do not often discuss. The fact is that depression is one of the most common mental illnesses but an underrecognized and undertreated problem among African American men. Common beliefs about mental health within the African American community include the following:

·         Being depressed is just normal, and talking about it is weak.

·         Getting help is the same as telling your business to a stranger.

·         Nobody cares about your mental health anyway.

·         These statements are not true.

Mental illness is REAL and affects us all, whether or not we choose to talk about it.

  • Goal 1:  To educate Black men about the effects of depression and stress on health.

  • Goal 2: To communicate the importance of seeking help for mental health problems and to encourage affected individuals to get information from their health care providers and others, in order to obtain appropriate treatment.

 

The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and NIMHD have launched Brother, You’re on My Mind:  Changing the National Dialogue Regarding Mental Health Among African American Men, an initiative to help start conversations about mental health among black men. Brother, You're on My Mind (nih.gov)  ​

Physical Health

Minority populations have much higher rates of high blood pressurediabetesobesity and heart disease, some cancers, and homicides all of which increase the risk for chronic diseases and early death.  The key to prevention is regular testing for everyone before trouble starts especially for people at risk. 

High Blood Pressure (HTN) & Kidney Failure

HTN is the number two cause of kidney failure it causes about 1 out of 4 cases (25%) in the United States.

High blood pressure is a serious problem for African Americans:

  • Almost half (more than 42%) of African American adults have high blood pressure.

  • High blood pressure affects African Americans differently. African Americans are six times more likely          to get kidney failure from their high blood pressure than whites.

  • If diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease are caught early, they can usually be managed - find a doctor and start your journey to improved health.

 

Diabetes

About 1 in 6 African Americans with diabetes do not know they have it!

About 1 in 9 (11.7%) African American adults has diabetes compared to about 1 in 13 (7.5%) white adults.

  • In the last 35 years, the number of people with diabetes has doubled.

  • Diabetes affects African Americans differently. African Americans with diabetes develop kidney failure

  • more often than whites, many undergo dialysis. Diabetes also causes heart disease and other problems in African American more often than whites.

 

Obesity 

Obesity effects African Men and women and increases the risk for heart disease, joint pain and stiffness (osteoarthritis), decrease mobility, and diabetes due to insulin resistance. It may also cause (atherosclerosis) or hardening of the arteries that leads to other heart diseases such as coronary artery disease (deposit of fat in the heart).

  • Factors affecting increased obesity among African Americans (AAs) include unhealthy eating habits.

  • Educational and nutritional deficits, and lack of exercise.

  • Lower participation in exercise and wellness programs

  • Have a negative perception of exercise that results in decreased participation in physical activity.  

  • Lack of time for exercise due to familial, social and cultural pressures.

  • Increased time and money spent on hair care (don’t want to mess the do)

 Brother, You’re on My Mind — Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and NIMHD have launched Brother, You’re on My Mind:  Changing the National Dialogue Regarding Mental Health Among African American Men, an initiative to help start conversations about mental health among black men. Brother, You're on My Mind (nih.gov)  

Web links:

You have the power to take charge of your health

If you have any symptoms see your doctor

         

 Dr. Colleen K

 MVBC Director of Health Ministry

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