WXXI AM News

Connections: "John Henryism" and mental health in the African American community

Jan 17, 2018

This hour, we have a conversation about mental health in the African American community, with a focus on the psychic cost of racism. According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20 percent more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population. Reasons for that disparity include racism, socioeconomic factors, and higher levels of homelessness and exposure to violence. 

The strategy of coping with prolonged psychosocial stress caused by discrimination has a name. It's called "John Henryism." We discuss that this hour, along with a new book highlighting the people who worked to make psychiatry more available to Harlem's black community in the early Civil Rights era. Our guests: