The Walking Wounded

Depression is a debilitating medical condition that affects blacks as it does no other group. Left unchecked it can affect much more than your mood—it can ruin your health

“Blacks are more likely to be socially withdrawn, and experience guilt and paranoia and internalize blame for whatever went wrong,” explains Newton, who is also president-elect of Black Psychiatrists of America. Workplace and personal conflicts can also fuel dramatic events and reactions, which often manifest in the form of anger and/or addiction.

Subject: Jennifer Jones


The Problem with Being the ‘Problem Solver’
This was a reality for Jennifer Jones, 45, who was fired from her position as director of community relations at a New York cooperative development in December 2006. Refusing the company’s settlement changed her status to a voluntary resignation, which prevented her from collecting unemployment.

“I was angry and humiliated,” says the married mother of two, who was told she had clinical depression. “After eight years, all my efforts and programs I’d created all went down the tubes.” Over the course of nearly two years, the formerly two-income family went into a financial tailspin. The couple depleted their savings and took their daughters, one in college, out of private schools. They traded in two cars for one and moved from their Princeton, New Jersey, home to a relatively small apartment in the New York City area to be closer to family. Feelings of disgrace because of the lack of viable employment opportunities and the stress of her family’s upheaval took a toll on Jones. She became a virtual recluse, sleeping constantly, overeating, and eventually ceasing most of the functions of daily living, including the care of her younger daughter. Her husband helped pick up the slack.

With no history of mental illness, Jones was convinced the low feelings would recede over time. “I was told to pick myself up and count my blessings,” she recalls. “I’ve always been the go-to problem solver for my family. It was impossible to believe I couldn’t help myself.”

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    Thank you for covering this very important topic of “Depression” as it relates to Black Americans. The title “the Walking Wounded” grabbed my attention. Afterall, so many of my federal colleagues who seek to expose racial discrimination suffer from generalized anxiety disorders, major depression, post- traumatic stress disorder and other resulting health problems due to years of being subjected to a hostile work environment. Even in this “new racial era”, hundreds of thousands of public servants face workplace discrimination and retaliation for reporting civil rights injustices. I, too, have suffered. I have experienced the sadness, the social withdrawal, and many of the symptoms addressed in the present article. Years of lengthy litigation (class action against the U.S. Department of Commerce) and work-place ill-treatment with no managerial accountability takes its’ toll. It leaves one feeling empty. A very dear friend of mine, a retired U.S. Marshal, who proved discrimination against the Department of Justice’s Marshal Service, was left to litigate his case for roughly 25 years (a quarter of a century). In the end, he prevailed. However, the exposure of racism and protracted litigation caused injury that no amount of money can ever compensate for.

    In an effort to give my personal pain, PURPOSE, I founded the Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C). It serves to provide informational and spiritual support for Black public servants who bravely expose civil rights violations. It also serves to address race discrimination in the federal government thereby improving the administration of public goods and services. Our members are brilliant and educated present and former public servants, who find therapeutic value in helping others and society. Our members recently submitted a report to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health. Within the coming months we will post our report on the C4C, Inc. website at
    Tanya Ward Jordan, Founder
    The Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C)

  • Ninette Allen

    I understand what the people in the article went through. I have had cases of depression all my life. Your past affects the present and future of your life. I had to come to grips being abandoned as a child without loving affection from my family. Understand your problem(s) that cause the depression by getting help and confronting it head on by talking about to anyone that will listen including yourself. Love yourself and always be positive no matter what. As long as you are able to open your eyes everyday, it is a great day!!

  • Thank you so much for writing this article and writing about my cousin, Stephen, from Cloumbus, GA. His mother was my first cousin and we loved her as we love him and always wanted to do something to make him feel better and to some how make his pain go away. It (derpession) which has followed him for all these years now has a name. We pray that now that he knows what it is that he can finally move forward. Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for featuring him in your article. May God Bless and Keep you and your family in his Grace.


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