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NMHA Depression Campaign Aimed at African Americans

The Mental Health America's Campaign on Clinical Depression has launched two new outreach efforts to increase awareness, recognition, and treatment of clinical depression among African Americans.

The first effort involves working in partnership with the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) to set up screenings and refer people who suffer from clinical depression to the appropriate health care providers. Screenings were organized on the national and local levels with mental health associations and launched on February 5 at NBNA's 10th Annual Day on Capitol Hill and invitational conference on clinical depression. The event included a Capitol Hill health fair with depression screenings by the Mental Health Association of Metropolitan Baltimore and training seminars to help NBNA leadership implement clinical depression screenings in their communities.

A second outreach effort involves a book tour that includes screenings. Author Meri Nana-Ama Danquah, author of Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman's Journey Through Depression, A Memoir, is conducting a book tour and working with the Campaign on Clinical Depression to provide a clinical perspective to her audience. Danquah wrote of her own experience with depression and is doing the tour to initiate a dialogue and eliminate the stigma surrounding African-American women and depression.

Mental health professionals will be on hand at her readings to talk about recognizing and treating clinical depression, to provide on-site depression screenings, and to offer educational materials and resources. Danquah recently read in Brooklyn, N.Y., where Belisa Vranich, M. D., director of the MHA of New York City, fielded questions about clinical issues and offered audience screenings and resources. Danquah will also do readings in Washington, Baltimore, Seattle, San Diego, and San Francisco.

The Campaign on Clinical Depression participates in setting up screening sites for National Depression Screening Day. Other partners in the campaign include the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and the National Council of Negro Women. It is funded by a grant from Eli Lilly and Co. More information is available by calling (800) 228-1114.