What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth memorializes African American freedom, and celebrates education and progress. It is a time for celebrations, learning, gathering, self-improvement, and planning for the future.
According to Juneteenth.com, "Juneteenth today celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures."
The meaning of Juneteenth is to recognize the effective end of slavery in the United States. Today, celebrating Juneteenth is more than commemorating a historical moment; it is about embracing unity and equality.
History of Juneteenth
The origin of Juneteenth dates back to 1865, when the news of the Civil War had ended, and slaves were now free, reached Galveston, Texas. This news came a full two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863.
Juneteenth honors the ending of slavery, starting a tradition that has lasted over 150 years, and is considered to be the longest-running African American holiday.
Today, cities across the US are celebrating Juneteenth and coming together to acknowledge, reconcile, and commemorate this historic day.
Why is Juneteenth called Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is called Juneteenth because it combines the words June and 19th into Juneteenth. It is also sometimes called "Juneteenth Independence Day," "Emancipation Day," or "Freedom Day."
Is Juneteenth a National Holiday?
Yes, Juneteenth is a national holiday. On June 17, 2021, Juneteenth was established as a US federal holiday, officially called Juneteenth National Independence Day.
In 1979, Texas was the first state to make Juneteenth an official state holiday. Since then, 41 other states have followed to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or holiday observance.
Juneteenth and Health Equity
With the growing popularity of Juneteenth, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the modern civil rights movement, addressing racial equality is paramount. One particular area where we can see quantitative data highlighting racial injustice is in the healthcare system.
Health equity is the fair access and opportunity to be healthy by all members of society. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that health equity is far from equal for many racial and ethnic minority groups.
In order to address these issues with health equity, it is essential to pinpoint where these issues are coming from, so they can be improved. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following factors affect health equity:
Gaps in education, income, and wealth
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Juneteenth and Mental Health
As we celebrate and remember Juneteenth, we look at how far the US has come. However, there are still considerable barriers to equality that must be faced head-on to resolve these issues. One of these significant issues is mental health.
While individual experiences of singular African American people vary, there are some common shared experiences through the black community.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), "part of this shared experience is facing racism, discrimination, and inequity that can significantly affect a person's mental health. Being treated or perceived as 'less than' because of the color of your skin can be stressful and even traumatizing. Additionally, members of the Black community face structural challenges accessing the care and treatment they need."
Due to this, according to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, black adults in the US are more likely than white adults to report persistent symptoms of:
In addition to the increased need for care, a disproportionate number of black adults do not receive adequate healthcare. According to a factsheet from the American Psychiatric Association (APA), only one in three Black adults who need mental health care receive it.
In addition, according to the APA, African Americans are:
Less likely to receive guideline-consistent care
Less frequently included in research
More likely to use emergency rooms or primary care (rather than mental health specialists)
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PlushCare's Commitment to Diversity and Health Equity
PlushCare supports human rights and stands with African Americans in the fight against systemic racism and historic oppression.
As a telehealth company, PlushCare recognizes the ongoing work that must be done in order to combat inequality in the healthcare field, and how telehealth has the potential to combat health inequity.
We are helping to bridge the healthcare access gap through virtual healthcare and addressing barriers to health care, including mental health.
PlushCare provides access to health care services online at an affordable cost. Telehealth was initially created to expand access to care, and we are working every day to reach communities that need it by making healthcare access simpler and less expensive. PlushCare's doctors, counselors, and employees reflect and support our patients' diversity.
Everything with PlushCare is entirely online, so you can keep your mental health journey private until you are ready to share. Eventually, through online therapy and counseling, you can learn tools to speak to your loved ones and destigmatize seeking help for mental health concerns.Book an Online Therapy Appointment
PlushCare provides patients with affordable, high-level comprehensive care that is not always accessible throughout the healthcare industry for the black community.
PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.
American Psychiatric Association. Mental Health Facts for African Americans. Accessed on June 15, 2021 at https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/cultural-competency/education/mental-health-facts
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health Equity Considerations and Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups. Accessed on June 15, 2021 at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/health-equity/race-ethnicity.html
National Alliance on Mental Illness. African Americans. Accessed on June 15, 2021 at https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Identity-and-Cultural-Dimensions/Black-African-American
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. Mental and Behavioral Health - African Americans. Accessed on June 15, 2021 at https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=24