Arab Americans are more likely to seek counsel from family instead of mental health professionals when experiencing mental health symptoms.
There is also a high prevalence of stigma in Arab American communities, which may prevent some individuals from seeking mental health care.
Arab Americans understand mental health conditions to have a spiritual or supernatural component, which differs from the U.S. medical understanding. According to a pilot study assessing attitudes toward depression in Arab American Muslims, 34.7 percent of respondents reported that black magic or evil eye could cause depression.
Arab Americans who migrated to the U.S. due to political violence and religious persecution in their home countries are more likely to experience higher levels of depression and anxiety.
In the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Arab Americans have been the targets of discrimination, harassment, and hate crimes. Ongoing conflicts in the Middle East have exacerbated stereotypes about people of Arab descent.
Arab Americans who experienced harassment or abuse because of their identity report higher levels of psychological distress, lower levels of happiness, and worse health status.
Some Arab Americans are targeted for harassment and abuse because of their Muslim faith. Experiencing islamophobia is associated with poor mental health, according to a meta-analysis of studies.
- Arab American immigrants who cited political violence and religious persecution as reasons for immigration had heightened levels of depression and anxiety. (BMC Psychiatry)
- Some research points to the stress of acculturation being a factor in high depression rates among Arab Americans. (National Library of Medicine)
- In one study, Arab Americans were found to be more likely to lack health insurance, live below the federal poverty level, and lack home ownership than non-Hispanic whites, despite their elevated levels of education and low rates of unemployment. (BMC Public Health)
DBSA Support Groups
DBSA support groups give people living with depression and bipolar disorder a safe, welcoming place to share experiences, discuss coping skills, and offer each other hope.
People who live with mood disorders can more readily achieve wellness when they recognize the symptoms and understand the issues related to this spectrum of conditions.
Each person’s wellness journey is unique. With that in mind, DBSA has developed tools to help you take the first steps and to determine what support you may need along the way.
Find a Therapist
If you’re thinking about starting therapy, mapping out your wellness goals and values can help you find the right therapist for you.