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Black Men and Depression: Saving our Lives, Healing our Families and Friends Paperback – August 9, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A call to action shedding light on the issue of depression in black men and the barriers that prevent too many from seeking and receiving car."

—Rosalynn Carter, Former U.S. First Lady, and Chairperson, The Carter Center Mental Health Task Force

"Standing in the Shadows is a brave, unblinking look at what it is like to be an African American man with depression.  John Head's insightful analysis of the connection between racism and this illness should be required  reading for everyone who cares that African American men are often absent from their families, are in jails and prisons in disproportionate numbers, and die at an alarming rates from suicide.”

—Cynthia Wainscott, Chair, National Mental Health Association

"John Head deftly takes us on a personal and cultural journey into the nature of depression and the social stigmas that surround it. Standing in the Shadows is an insightful, compelling, and practical guide."

—Lawrence Kutner, Ph.D., co-director, Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media.

"This book does not haggle with statistics and scientific discoveries . . . .it literally keeps the topic of depression and black men honest by taking us through a progressive journey that helps us understand the real hurdles. Before you delve into any medical journal . . . read this book first so that you will have a deeper understanding of the topic and develop a good foundation."

-- Donna Holland Barnes, Ph.D, resident and co-founder of the National Organization for People of Color Against Suicide and assistant professor in
the department of psychiatry at Howard University.

"Neither a polemic nor a weepy tell-all, Standing in the Shadows is a sobering look at what the world's most common mental illness is doing to a big chunk of our population—with well-researched words of hope and help for those men and the people who love them."

—Tracy Thompson, author of The Beast: A Reckoning with Depression

“John Head's Standing in the Shadows is a "must read" for the black man suffering from the lingering, tormenting blues and for anyone who knows him. Head makes the experience of depression real in heartfelt, well-crafted vignettes that give substance to his demand that we acknowledge, name, understand, and do something to ease the psychic pain that many black men suffer in relative silence.”

—Sandra C. Walker, MD, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst

About the Author

JOHN HEAD is a former mental health reporter and features writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and a former reporter for USA TODAY and the Detroit Free Press. His first book, We Are the Land’s: The Biography of a Homeplace, was named best memoir by the Georgia Writers Association in 1999.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony (August 9, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076791354X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767913546
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,309,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeffery Mingo on September 11, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author recounts how a prominent civil rights figure foolishly stated, "No black committed suicide until integration." The supposed leader then goes on to name at least three brothers whom he knew that did kill themselves. Head protects this person's privacy, but I wish he had named the person who could have made such a stupid comment. That's just as ridiculous and uninformed as homophobes who say, "No blacks are gay." Head provides this strong anecdote to convince black men to seek therapy for depression, an illness of which he suffers himself.

Unfortunately, I think the people who will pick up this book are the ones that would already agree that mental illness in the black community needs to be seriously addressed. In that way, it's a shame that one has to read 200 pages of preaching to the choir. For those who complain about supposed "race cards," this book will really frustrate them. Though the author speaks of the microaggressions that black men face consistently, neither the author himself nor the others he describes can point to one racist act that tipped them into depression. I agree with the brother that racism is burden which negatively affects the mental health of black men, but I think many readers skeptical of that supposition will not be convinced here.

The author says little about masculinity and rigid male gender roles. Thus, this book applies to black women almost as much as it does to black men. Concerns about gun violence, disproportionate prison populations, and stereotypes of the angry black man are gendered, but his discussion of racism and the need to have adequate mental health care was not.
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By David Breedlove on October 30, 2013
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This book was extremely helpful to me so much so that I purchased two more copies for a couple of friends. As a health care professional, I think the book is well-written in a very candid and evidence-based fashion. The author's experience is very similar to my own. Every man (especially black men)and woman who experience depression or have family or friends who go through bouts of depression should read the book. It can actually save lives! It time for Black people to start talking about mental illness. This book can help you start the conversation. Thanks Mr. Head!
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Excellent material. I am still reading this book but so far I find that the author compellingly tells his story with such passion and eloquence that the reader can easily relate and learn simultaneously during the course of reading on the topic of depression. An excellent addition to your library.
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Sad and depressing. Informative, probably, but a sad commentary on the effects of racism on a race of men...
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