Mental health conditions don’t discriminate on the basis of race, gender, color or sexual identity. Anyone can go through the challenges of mental illness no matter what their background is. That being said, background and identity can make access to mental health treatment much harder. National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 2008 to change all that.
This year’s theme is CureStigma, which aims to reduce the negative associations with mental health issues across the board. The statistics are sobering. One in five Americans is affected by mental health conditions. However, a pervasive stigma still remains that can be toxic to their mental health due to living in an environment of shame, fear and silence. This environment oftentimes prevents people from seeking the help and treatment they need to live fulfilling lives.
Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. As the U.S. population continues to grow and become more diverse, it is projected that by 2044, more than half of Americans will belong to a minority group, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
Mental Health and Diverse Populations
Studies show that ethnic and racial minorities experience a high burden of disability resulting from mental disorders. Here are some interesting statistics:
- Rates of depression may be lower in African Americans and Hispanics than in whites but depression is more persistent in those ethnicities.
- Those who are comprised of two or more races are most likely to have mental illness than any other racial or ethnic group.
- American Indians and Alaskan Natives have higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol addiction than any other ethnic or racial group.
- White Americans are more likely to commit suicide than people of other ethnic and racial groups.
- Those from minority groups are less likely to seek out and receive mental health care.
- LGBTQ individuals are nearly three times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety disorder. A fear of coming out to others and being discriminated against for sexual orientation or gender identity can lead to depression, PTSD, suicidal thoughts and substance abuse.
Barriers to Care
There are many factors that affect access to treatment by members of diverse ethnic and racial groups. Those factors can include:
- Lack of insurance or inadequate insurance
- Mental illness stigma, which is higher among minority populations
- Lack of diversity in available mental health care providers
- Lack of culturally-competent providers
- Language barriers
- Lack of trust in healthcare system
- Inadequate support for mental health services within safety-net settings
Contact Comprehensive MedPsych Systems
Here at Comprehensive MedPsych Systems, we embrace and treat a wide range of patients. If you suffer from depression, bipolar disorder or any other mental health disorder, please don’t hesitate to get diagnostic evaluation and treatment by calling us at 941-363-0878. We provide patient services without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, communicable disease or place of origin.