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Lay My Burden Down: Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis among African-Americans Revised Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 004-6442009591
ISBN-10: 0807009598
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Editorial Reviews

Review

As a black woman thrashing with the new class divide and an intermittent but chronic depression that feels as old as rivers, I found [Lay My Burden Down] a relief, an assured voice in a wilderness [that] I felt I was essentially wandering alone. --Erin Aubry Kaplan, Salon

"A persuasive moral indictment of the mental-health establishment for not working harder to rid itself of prejudicial images of African-Americans within its own practices, and to address them in earnest in the larger society." --Matthew V. Johnson, The Christian Century

"A stunner of a book. . . . The positive message here is that these scourges can be prevented." --Leon Eisenberg, M.D., coauthor of Children in a Changing Health System

About the Author

A former consultant for The Cosby Show, Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D., is professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Judge Baker Children's Center in Boston. He lives in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Amy Alexander is a columnist for Africana.com and editor of The Farrakhan Factor. She lives in Hyde Park, Massachusetts.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; Revised edition (October 12, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807009598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807009598
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,162,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Francis L. Holland on May 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The most valuable aspect of this book for me is the perspective of the author about her brother's suicide and how it effected her. That's unique and only she can tell us about that.

Anyone who uses Google can readily discover statistical evidence demonstrating that Blacks are committing suicide far more often now than we did forty years ago. Having read many scholarly articles and National Institute of Health reports about suicide, I did not find that I learned substantially more through this book.

Nonetheless, I have only the deepest respect for its authors and I hope the Black perspective they bring to the topic will help caregivers keep Black patients safer and provide therapy more effectively; help Black families escape denial to confront reality when a member of the family is considering suicide; and even help people considering suicide to realize that they are not alone in their anguish.

A book that offers those benefits is well worth offering to those who might be helped.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Poussaint and Ms. Alexander tell the story of the treatment Blacks in the mental health system with convincing accuracy. The cases they cite should be a warning and send a message that racism in health care still exists, and should be addressed by all, most especially those of us of color who treat people of color.
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By AL on February 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This really gives a good prospective on Mental Health in the African American Community. It is really good book i reccomend anyone that is into learnng more about mental health issues, should read it.
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Format: Paperback
My mother died by suicide when I was 9 years old. What I find most amazing till this day is how my family (we are African-American) refused to talk about her mental illness and the circumstances that lead to her death. For years, I would rather lie about her death and her illness, than admit that she was mentally ill.

This book takes the blinders off an issue that we don't like to talk about in the black community. How many times have we heard comedians joke about mental health issues being a "white man's disease". But the truth is that mental illness affects people of all classes, ethnic backgrounds and religion. It can especially hit the poor very hard due to insufficient access to health care. With necessary information, statistics and a very objective approach, the authors of this great book show how mental illness is more of a problem than we would like to think, and yet "age old stigmas" (especially the one that associates mental illness with being crazy) make it hard for us to seek the treatment that we need. Of course, there are other issues that are addressed, such as the insensitivity of the health care community towards the health care needs of African-Americans.

This book is a must read for anyone sinmcerly concerned about the overall health of the African-American community and our society as a whole
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While I am a big fan of Dr. Poussaint's work, I was disappointed with this work. It did not offer much in the way of concrete conclusions or solutions to walk away with.
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