By Victor Trammell
Photo credits: Chicago Tribune
A research group working on behalf of Northwestern Medicine conducted a recent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) study on black women living on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois.
The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Disparities, a peer-reviewed, scientific research publication.
This Northwestern Medicine study is titled The Frequency of PTSD and Subthreshold PTSD Among African-American Women With Depressive Symptoms in a Disadvantaged Urban Neighborhood: Pilot Study.
Late last month, the Chicago Tribune
newspaper profiled the story of Nortasha Stingley (pictured), a black mother who lives on Chicago’s South Side. Stingley, 40, lost her then 19-year-old daughter four years ago to gun-related violence.
Though Stingley was not a part of the Northwestern Medicine research team’s study, she was diagnosed with PTSD after seeing a doctor in the weeks after her daughter’s murder. Her symptoms were severe.
“It’s still a battle. I died and they just forgot to bury me. It’s a struggle,” Stingley told the Chicago Tribune.
PTSD is a mental illness that occurs in individuals who have been through a difficult life event that causes severe shock, fear, anxiety, and even suicidal feelings.
The researchers for Northwest Medicine conducted their study on six-dozen minority female participants at a federally-qualified health center in an urban area. An abstract for the study partially reads as follows:
“The MINI International Neuropsychiatric Interview was used to assess PTSD diagnosis or subthreshold PTSD, and the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self-Report (IDS-SR) was used to assess depressive symptoms. We conducted a descriptive analysis of trauma experiences and explored the neighborhood context of the participants. Fifty-one percent of women self-reported that they experienced a traumatic event. Twenty-nine percent of women met PTSD diagnosis and 7% had subthreshold PTSD; women with a PTSD diagnosis or subthreshold PTSD had significantly worse depressive symptoms.” (NIH.gov)
PTSD in black women from urban communities is a major problem in cities across America. The first step in dealing with this growing problem is to raise awareness. Taking action involves implementing a caring and reactive approach to treating the existing cases.
However, prevention comes from developing a conceivable and proactive approach to improving the quality of life in predominantly black communities.