Legislators Discuss Mental Illness Among African-Americans

The National Black Caucus of State Legislators and Eli Lilly hosted a conference Friday to address mental illness among African-Americans.

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Photo: flickr (Kratka Photography)

The National Black Caucus of State Legislators and Eli Lilly hosted a conference Friday to address mental illness among African-Americans.

The National Black Caucus of State Legislators and Eli Lilly hosted “Black America‘s Dialogue on Health” in Indianapolis Friday. They discussed mental health and the toll that depression is taking in the African-American community. Clinical Psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere says mere discussion about mental health issues and depression have long been taboo in the black community. Gardere says the current economy and social climate play roles in contributing to depression.

“When we put the depression with the poverty, with the acting out, with gun violence what we see is rage what we see is anger what we see is drug use what we see is promiscuity,” Gardere says. “All of those are what we call the defense mechanism of acting out in order to cover and mask.”

Indiana State Rep. Vanessa Summers says the state needs to find more resources to help those in need of counseling, which should include the prison population.

“I don’t know if Indiana is a state that helps their mentally ill, that’s what we’re starting to ask questions about,” Summers said. “We want to know what’s happening and we want you to know that there’s people who need help.”

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