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Residential segregation is an example of the long history of structural racism in the United States. Black Americans are more likely to live in low-quality neighborhoods, which contributes to disparities in health outcomes. A new study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign looks at how community stress affects the mental and emotional health of Black men and women in the U.S.

Jenkins and her colleagues analyzed data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study, a longitudinal study of health and aging that includes assessments of psychological and neighborhood factors. They drew on data from MIDUS’ third wave, collected in 2013–2015, which included a sample of Black Americans from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The study measured objective neighborhood quality with the Area Deprivation Index, which includes rankings based on indicators related to education, employment, income, and housing quality. Perceived Neighborhood Disadvantage captured subjective aspects of community stress with self-reported measures on neighborhood safety, social cohesion, and physical environment.

A recent study has delved into the impact of community stress on the mental and emotional health of Black Americans, revealing significant findings. The research highlights that chronic stress within communities, stemming from systemic racism, economic disparities, and social inequalities, can profoundly affect mental health outcomes. This persistent stress can lead to increased rates of anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders among Black individuals.

The study underscores that community stressors, such as violence, discrimination, and limited access to resources, contribute to a heightened state of vigilance and emotional strain. These factors can trigger the body’s stress response, leading to long-term psychological consequences. Additionally, the research points out that the support networks within communities play a crucial role in mitigating these adverse effects. Strong social bonds and community engagement can provide a buffer against the detrimental impacts of stress, promoting resilience and mental well-being.

The findings emphasize the need for targeted mental health interventions that address the unique stressors faced by Black communities. Culturally sensitive approaches and policies aimed at reducing systemic inequalities are essential to improving mental health outcomes and fostering a sense of security and support.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or the effects of chronic stress, it’s important to seek help. Call at 855-339-1112 for support and guidance. Taking the first step towards recovery and mental well-being can make a significant difference.

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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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