Slavery's legacy

Lay My Burden Down: Unraveling Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African Americans, by Alvin Poussaint, M.D., and Amy Alexander

The legacy of slavery persists in stress-related illnesses and self-destructive forms of behavior. "Researchers believe that racism has contributed to the high rate of hypertension, heart disease and other stress related illnesses in the black community," write Harvard Medical School professor of psychiatry Alvin Poussaint and journalist Amy Alexander. "Psychologists have argued that long after emancipation and the end of legal segregation, the conflicts inherent in being black in America have led many black people to attempt to escape from the pressures of being second-class citizens through the use of drugs, alcohol and other forms of self-destructive behaviors, including suicide (and homicide)."

 

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