What the Black Community Needs to Know About the ‘Holiday Blues’

The end-of-year holiday season is typically a time of celebration and social gatherings, but it can also bring about anxiety, loneliness, depression, and a good bit of self-reflection. Feelings of grief may be more pronounced at this time of year as well, when the absence of loved ones from annual events is plainly evident.

For Black Americans, who make up nearly 14 percent of the U.S. population, 21.4 percent report having a mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). And they’re 20 percent more likely to experience serious psychological distress than white Americans, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) reports.

Higher rates of economic distress, overt and subtle racism, and inequitable social circumstances in the Black community increase the risk of depression or other mental illnesses, according to NIMHD. As with most people, these issues can become more pronounced around the holidays.

Whether the absence of a loved one, financial insecurity, or a mental health condition are contributing to anxiety, depression, or simply feeling off, the following can help you better understand the causes and prevent a spiral during the holiday season.

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