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Black Mental Health

Patients, Providers, and Systems

Edited by Ezra E. H. Griffith, M.D., Billy E. Jones, M.D., M.S., and Altha J. Stewart, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-61537-210-2
  • Item #37210
Hear the voices behind the most prominent psychiatric scholarship. Listen to Psychiatry Unbound.
During an intimate conversation with Laura Roberts, M.D., M.A., Altha J. Stewart, M.D. relives her own stories about how she came to be the person she grew into and the significance of becoming the first black President of the APA.

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Novel in its approach and unique in its scope, Black Mental Health: Patients, Providers, and Systems examines the role of African Americans within American psychiatric health care from distinct but interconnected perspectives. The experiences of both black patients and the black mental health professionals who serve them are analyzed against the backdrop of the cultural, societal, and professional forces that have shaped their place in this specialized health care arena.

The volume opens with the singular, first-person accounts of five senior black psychiatrists—including Dr. Altha J. Stewart, president of the American Psychiatric Association—who describe their individual journeys to the top of their field, not shying away from discussing the racism and discrimination that have challenged their paths to leadership.

The book's second part focuses on the complexities of and opportunities for delivering mental health care to various subsets of the African American population, including children, women, elderly patients, and LGBTQ individuals. System design strategies, biological therapies, and church-based mental health promotion initiatives are all considered as methods for reducing racial and ethnic disparities in access to effective treatment.

Part III examines the training of black mental health professionals and their representation in psychiatry, particularly in the face of discrimination and implicit bias. A chapter on historically black colleges and universities discusses the importance of their role in the delivery of psychiatric services and research development for African Americans. The fourth part builds on this discussion, addressing research that is relevant to the care of the black population.

A concluding chapter highlights the key themes that emerged from each of the previous four parts, providing a holistic view of the place of black patients and providers in American psychiatry.

With its blend of scholarship, clinical insight, and training analysis, Black Mental Health is compulsory reading both for trainees—as care delivery to minority groups is of ever greater importance—and practicing clinicians, who will glean useful information from the chapters on research advances and treatment modalities. Additionally, policy makers, educators, and historians, among others, will gain a better understanding of the challenges and necessity of developing integrated approaches to the care of nondominant groups.


  • Introduction: Framing the Text
  • Part I. Reflections
  • Chapter 1. The Welcome Table in the Workplace
  • Chapter 2. Call to Public Service
  • Chapter 3. Long Journey to the Top of the Psychiatric Ladder
  • Chapter 4. Bridging the Gap: Challenges for Mental Health Policy, Research, and Practice
  • Chapter 5. Black Psychiatrists of 1969 Survey the Scene, Then and Now
  • Part II. Patient Care
  • Chapter 6. Black Americans and Public System Design Strategies Promoting Health Equity
  • Chapter 7. African Americans and the Criminal Justice System
  • Chapter 8. Black International Medical Graduates and the Care of Black Patients
  • Chapter 9. Providing High-Quality Psychiatric Care for Black Children and Youth
  • Chapter 10. Black Women and Mental Health: Psychosocial Realities and Clinical Considerations
  • Chapter 11. Young Minority Fathers: Harbingers of Promise for Their Children
  • Chapter 12. Black Elders of the Twenty-First Century
  • Chapter 13. Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Identities and Mental Health
  • Chapter 14. Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in African American Populations
  • Chapter 15. Psychotherapy With African Americans and People of African Descent
  • Chapter 16. Biological Therapies and Black Patients
  • Chapter 17. The Black Church and Mental Health
  • Part III. Training of Black Mental Health Care Providers
  • Chapter 18. Psychiatric Training and Black Mental Health
  • Chapter 19. A Seat at the Psychiatric Table: Increasing the Workforce Presence of Blacks
  • Chapter 20. Addressing the Mental Health Needs of African American Youth in the New Millennium: Intersections and Visions for the Future
  • Chapter 21. Training in the Effects of Implicit Racial Bias on Black Health
  • Chapter 22. Historically Black Colleges and Universities and African American Psychiatry: Past, Present, and Future
  • Part IV. Psychiatric Research and Blacks
  • Chapter 23. The Importance of Bent Nail Research for African American Populations
  • Chapter 24. Racism and Mental Health: Pathways, Evidence, and Needed Research
  • Chapter 25. Toward a Liberation Psychiatry: Contributions From the Psychology of Place
  • Chapter 26. The New Epidemic: Trauma Among Urban Adolescents Living in Poverty
  • Chapter 27. Addiction, Drug Policy, and Black Clinical Innovations
  • Chapter 28. Conclusion: Toward a Revised Vision of Black Mental Health


    Kenneth B. Ashley, M.D.
    F. M. Baker, M.D.
    Carl C. Bell, M.D.
    Iverson Bell Jr., M.D.
    Chyrell Bellamy, Ph.D.
    Curley L. Bonds, M.D.
    Ellen Boynton
    June Jackson Christmas, M.D.
    Frank Clark, M.D.
    Tiffany Cooke, M.D., M.P.H.
    Larry Davidson, Ph.D.
    Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D.
    Charles Dike, M.D., M.P.H.
    Richard G. Dudley Jr., M.D.
    Elizabeth Flanagan, Ph.D.
    Anderson J. Franklin, Ph.D.
    Linda N. Freeman, M.D.
    David Friedlander, M.A.
    Mindy Thompson Fullilove, M.D.
    Derrick M. Gordon, Ph.D.
    Anthony P. S. Guerrero, M.D.
    Aaron D. Haddock, Ph.D.
    Sidney H. Hankerson, M.D., M.B.A.
    Helena B. Hansen, M.D., Ph.D.
    Nzinga A. Harrison, M.D., DFAPA
    Jacquelyne F. Jackson, Ph.D.
    William B. Lawson M.D., Ph.D.
    Orlando B. Lightfoot, M.D.
    Lorraine E. Lothwell, M.D.
    Ayesha McAdams-Mahmoud, M.P.H.
    Patricia A. Newton, M.D., M.P.H.
    Donna M. Norris, M.D.
    Melvin Oatis, M.D.
    Kenneth Polite, Ph.D.
    Annelle B. Primm, M.D., M.P.H.
    Jyotsna S. Ranga, M.D.
    Racquel E. Reid, M.D.
    Ruth S. Shim, M.D., M.P.H.
    Christine Simon, Sc.M.
    Patricia Simon, Ph.D.
    Michael J. Strambler, Ph.D.
    Nadia L. Ward, Ph.D.
    David R. Williams, Ph.D., M.P.H.
    Eunice C. Wong, Ph.D.

About the Authors

Ezra E. H. Griffith, M.D., is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and of African-American Studies at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Billy E. Jones, M.D., M.S., is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine in New York, New York, and Past President of Black Psychiatrists of America.

Altha J. Stewart, M.D., is Associate Professor and Chief of Public and Community Psychiatry, and Director of the Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth, at the University of Tennessee, Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee; and President of the American Psychiatric Association, 2018–2019.

Edited by three eminent psychiatrists, Black Mental Health: Patients, Providers, and Systems brings both a personal and systematic view of practice, training and research about African American mental health. Powerfully written, and with state of the art reviews of key issues in psychiatry, this book belongs on every psychiatrist's bookshelf.—Paul Summergrad, M.D., Dr. Frances S. Arkin Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Tufts Medical Center, Chairman, Tufts Medical Center Physicians Organization

This seminal publication begins with early African American pioneers in the field who, with diverse backgrounds, share personal stories in often isolated training programs. The racial biases and challenges they faced later would shape their perspectives on the mental health needs of their black patients and wider populations of underserved communities lacking access to care. With subsequent career decisions and areas of involvement in academia and organizational settings, more black psychiatrists chose influence in public policy and administrative positions to offer innovative programs to specific social issues and childhood intervention strategies. Ultimately, prolonged efforts for visible component roles of membership, and recognition of acknowledged contributions within the formidable organization structure of their medical field specialty of psychiatry, resulted in the election, in 2017, of the first black psychiatrist as president of the American Psychiatric Association. A truly remarkable journey charted for fellow colleagues in the mental health field and an unwavering commitment to sustain future black psychiatrists to build upon.—Esther P. Roberts, M.D., Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, George Washington University Medical School, Director of Mental Health Programs for Foreign Service Diplomats, US DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Member of APA Black Psychiatrists Caucus

This book is the most sensitive and comprehensive book ever published in the field of psychiatry that is directed to the unique mental health needs of the black population of the United States. The topics covered by this book are all very important within the field of psychiatry. The authors represent the most knowledgeable group of psychiatrists and mental health practitioners within the field of psychiatry and mental health at large. I recommend this book to all psychiatrists and mental health practitioners both in the United States and worldwide. I will certainly have this book available in my library and look forward to using it during my teaching and educational activities as well.—Pedro Ruiz, M.D., Clinical Professor, Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

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