Mindfulness training may help alleviate symptoms of depression and stress in African-American women with lower socio-economic status, according to a new pilot study by researchers at Northwestern Medicine.
It is well-established that poor black women have an increased risk of depressive disorders. However, they rarely seek out antidepressants or psychotherapy due to negative attitudes and stigma associated with conventional mental health treatments. Mindfulness may provide an effective alternative to these conventional treatments.
“Many women are in need of help with their depression and coping with daily life, but they don’t seek it out because of limited access to high-quality mental health services and the stigma within their families and communities,” said lead researcher Dr. Inger Burnett-Zeigler, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
“Our study shows that there are alternatives to traditional mental health treatment, such as mind-body approaches, that effectively alleviate symptoms, and can be done autonomously in the comfort of their own home.”
The study involving 31 black women is the first to test the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions among disadvantaged women with depression in a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), which provides comprehensive community-based medical care to low-income individuals.