Bipolar Disorder in African American Adolescents

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Relation to Target Population
  • Critique of Articles
  • Article Two
  • Article Three
  • Article Four
  • Health Promotion Project


Most adolescents have highs and lows, marked as developmental mood swings due to hormones. It becomes a problem when the adolescent begins to feel extreme lows such as depression or hopelessness. This is where health care workers and parents need to dive deeper. Bipolar disorder is characterized as, “a complex psychiatric disorder that can have grave consequences for academic and social development”. There isn’t a target population for bipolar disorder, as it can affect persons across the lifespan as well as cross cultures. However, there are populations that have better healthcare, more research on illnesses, as well as easier access to care. Due to these, often socioeconomic discrepancies, illnesses often are misunderstood and go untreated. Throughout history, this has often been the case with African Americans. Adolescence is a critical developmental period characterized by biological, cognitive, and psychosocial changes.

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Relation to Target Population

Chen, KIlleya-Jones, and Vega report that African American adolescents are a “vulnerable subpopulation.” They also report that within this population there are “greater psychiatric problems and higher rates of comorbidity compared to their White or Hispanic counterparts.” Due to a deep-rooted history of racism and negligence, African Americans often live below the poverty line. Statistics in 2017, show that African Americans had the highest poverty rate at 21.2%, or around 9 million people Residing in this economic group often deprives the people within it of resources to assess and assist their mental capacity. In reference to adolescents, some of the main factors to impact mental health are, “personal, social, cultural, economic, and broader environmental factors”. With statistics stacked against you, as well as a vicious cycle of lack of treatment through generations, African American adolescents today can easily have sense of hopelessness and, therefore, feel unworthy of help. This path can lead to serious mental health issues, such as depression, bipolar disorder, as well as anxiety disorder. Due to this steady decline, with little to no resources or information, it is easy to see how African Americans can develop these mental health issues.

Critique of Articles

Article One In the study conducted by Rose, Joe, Shields, and Caldwell, the focus was on mental health in black adolescents aging 13-17. The main focus of this article is the mental health status of African Americans and how understudied this subject is. It was found that this group has less knowledge about mental health as well as less help available. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also shown us what mental health is defined as. In this article it talks about what can help mental health as a whole and what we can be doing to help adolescents. Durkheim’s social integration theory is a big part of the article and the study. Family, school, and religion are talked about and why they are important in adolescents’ lives.

Article Two

This article is beneficial for my report because it talks about what bipolar is and what symptoms can be in adolescents. It also talks about what the symptoms can affect and how they are making adolescents feel. It talks about treatments that can be used not only for the adolescents but also their parents. It conducted a study to explore whether bipolar adapted from children to adolescents and how applied in a family format can help reduce their symptoms, improve psychosocial functioning, and increase the parents knowledge of the disorder and how to cope with it. This article is important for my report because it is showing how symptoms can be different and how families need to help the adolescents through bipolar disorders in order for them to get better.

Article Three

To be treated for bipolar disorder you must come to terms you need to see a health care provider. A lot of people with mental illnesses tend to oversee their issues and ignore that they need to see a health care provider. People with bipolar disorder can also seek help from a health care provider and not get what they are needing, it can go both ways. I think this article is beneficial to my report because it can show both sides to the story. They have to be willing to get help to receive the right help. We can see how adolescents are affected if they aren’t getting the right treatment and how they are changing if they do receive the correct treatment.

Article Four

This article talks about treatments and services that can be provided for adolescents that have bipolar disorder. It is another article that talks about what bipolar disorder is and how treatments can help. It gives information on how health care providers may not treat or diagnose an adolescent with bipolar unless they have had manic symptoms before. A lot of times adolescents, and adults, can be misdiagnosed because there isn’t enough information or a health care provider doesn’t think they are as bad as they are.

Health Promotion Project

According to Healthy People 2020, mental health “is a state of successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with other people, and the ability to adapt to change and to cope with challenges”. Your mental health is essential to your daily life, relationships, and overall well-being. Being able to recognize mental health issues and how to provide or receive help is essential to everyone. Healthy people 2020 also stated mental health conditions are characterized by, “alterations in thinking, mood, and/or behavior that are associated with distress and/or impaired functioning”. Mental health disorders can cause serious problems to a person’s well-being and can eventually result in death. Mental disorders are important to recognize because there are millions of people that can have the same issues and not know how to handle them. A patients physical health can also contribute to their mental health. If a patient has anxiety, bipolar, or anything else it can cause them to not be physically there or active or engage in health-promoting behaviors. There are many factors that can affect a patients mental health and knowing the factors and how to handle them is crucial. The main goal of Healthy People 2020 is to improve mental health and mental illnesses by ensuring there are enough services for each culture and each community. Discussing mental health and mental health issues should be discussed from early age on. If health care providers were able to provide booklets, pamphlets, or even come to schools to talk to kids early on is going to help adolescents become more aware to seek help. Knowing the signs and symptoms and how to get help is going to keep the stats down and help healthy people 2020 achieve their goal.

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