Let’s Talk About Depression and Young Black Man

The college years and young adulthood can be tough and full of stressful situations. We might be living away from home for the first time, missing family and friends, and feeling alone in a new place. We might be in charge of our own food, clothing, shelter and sleep schedules for the first time—and not always managing so well. We might be encountering new and difficult academic work and jobs. We might be having relationship problems or breakups. A lot of us are worried about finances. Our encounters with racism and discrimination in daily life add to our burdens. Sometimes there are a lot more problems than pleasures.

All of these stresses can leave us exhausted, irritable or sad. If these “blues” last more than a few weeks or make it hard to carry on with daily life, you may be depressed. Depression is one of the most common mental health problems, but it often goes unnoticed and untreated among young African-American men. We’re expected to be strong in a crisis, hide our sensitivities and keep personal problems within the family. And a nationwide survey found that about 30 percent of college students reported feeling “so depressed that it was difficult to function” at some time in the past year.

The good news is that depression, like other illnesses, is treatable, and we can recover.

Physical and Emotional Signs

Depression symptoms can be different for each person. Someone with depression may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, guilty, worthless, helpless, tired, irritable or restless. Other potential symptoms of depression include:

  • Aches, pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems