According to a new study from the University of Michigan, Black women who live in the rural South are less prone to depression than those who live in the South’s urban regions. The study includes data from the National Survey of American Life, and explores the ways that low education and poverty can affect the mental health of Black and White women who live in the rural South of the United States.
Around 4 percent of African-American women living in rural areas of the South say they’ve had some form of depression in their lifetimes. Those numbers more than double for their suburban and urban peers. About 20 percent of White women in the rural South say they’ve been depressed at some point in life.
The authors of the study assert that the significant disparity could have something to do with the various levels of support from friends and family that Black and White women receive. The authors also note that strong family bonds, spirituality and a sense of community with fellow women of color could contribute to lower depression rates among African-American women. University of Michigan researchers also state that further research is needed to gain a better understanding of the mental health needs of rural women, in order to create more effective intervention strategies.
While far less African-American women experience holiday depression than their White counterparts, there are still a significant amount of Black women who have overwhelming feelings of sadness and anxiety during the holiday season. Strategies for coping during the holidays can include letting go of unrealistic expectations (i.e. not being able to receive expensive gifts, constantly keeping a spotless house when there are several overnight guests) and planning ahead to increase the chances that holiday gatherings go smoothly. Women who are prone to experience depression may also be able to manage the condition more effectively by keeping alcoholic drinks to a minimum and working out as much as possible during the holidays to balance serotonin levels.