This article reports the findings of a qualitative study that examined the perceptions of depression and suicide risk and protection among 40 African American women. Seven focus groups were conducted. The thematic findings of the focus group discussions included perceptions of depression as a sense of "spiritual forsakenness" and a healthy alternative to suicide. Living in spirit as well as in community with others was viewed as protection against suicide. Having a strong sense of African American heritage, history, and identity was perceived as protection against suicide and depression. Womanist implications for social work research, practice, and education are discussed.
- black feminist theory/womanism
- health and mental health
- qualitative researcher