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Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

written by Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse Written by Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse
Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa is a MSN prepared Registered Nurse with 10 years of critical care experience in healthcare. When not practicing clinical nursing, she enjoys academic writing and is passionate about helping those affected by medical aliments live healthy lives.

Read more posts by this author.

July 15, 2022 Read Time - 5 minutes

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and was created to highlight mental health resources and treatment options in minority communities. Together, we can sift out healthcare disparities among minorities and bring appropriate, supportive, and high-quality mental health care to those affected.

Minority Mental Health FAQs:

Why is Minority Mental Health Important?

Minority mental health is important because anyone can be affected by mental health regardless of background, culture, ethnicity, or identity. Mental health is often overlooked, shunned, stigmatized, or ignored which limits our strive toward healthy, fulfilling lives. 

How are Minorities Affected by Mental Health?

Minorities are affected by mental health the same as the non-minority populations, but the difference is that minority groups are less likely to seek treatment, and when they do get the treatment, it is not the best available treatment. This is even more challenging due to the minority community’s unique mental health challenges and needs. Some minorities have the added burdens of generational trauma, historical disenfranchisement, socioeconomic factors, and oppression of racial and ethnic groups, that reduce access.

Mental health conditions do not discriminate, and anyone can experience the challenges of mental health. However, being a minority in the mental healthcare system adds even more barriers to treatment. There are several roadblocks in place that make mental health services difficult to access among minority populations. Some barriers to mental health treatment include:

  • Language 
  • Cultural insensitivities
  • Racism, bias, or discrimination in treatment settings
  • Lower quality care/poverty
  • Distrust in the healthcare system
  • Lack of diversity among healthcare providers
  • Lack of cultural competency among providers
  • Uninsured or underinsured
  • Cost of services
  • Missing work is not feasible to go to therapy sessions
  • Stigma among peers and community members

Even those with health care coverage find it difficult to access mental health resources and treatment. The goal of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is to move toward a mentally healthy future by providing a system of support and actionable ways to improve mental health care.

  • Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  • Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  • Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

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Mental Health Stigma in Minority Communities

Minority communities traditionally see mental health issues as a stigma. A stigma is a mark of disgrace toward a particular circumstance, quality, or person. Many cultures view mental health disorders as a phase or simply a personality trait that will eventually pass. These harmful perceptions may be keeping those who need treatment from ever seeking it, in fact, two-thirds of individuals with a diagnosable mental health disorder do not seek treatment.

Perhaps mental health stigma in minority communities comes from a historical place of being in survival mode with no time for mental health care or treatment. In environments where violence and trauma are common, anxiety and depression are prevalent and go undiagnosed. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African Americans living below the poverty level are twice as likely to report psychological distress while suicide was the second leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year-olds.

Mental Health Disparities in Minority Communities

Mental health disparities in minority communities exist due to lack of access, lack of acceptance, and lack of resources. Excellent healthcare is one that provides high-quality, affordable, accessible, and valuable care. Mental health care has low priority compared to traditional medical healthcare. Mental health resources, funding, and access are often placed on the back burner because people are desperately trying to get medical care, they do not even consider the possibility of mental healthcare. 

Unfortunately, black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities are more likely to develop mental health conditions, and not seek treatment. Although minorities are just as likely as non-minorities to experience mental health disorders, they are far less likely to seek and receive treatment.

One of the major barriers to mental health treatment is access. Despite the existence of effective treatment, disparities exist. These disparities include availability, accessibility, and quality of mental health services for minorities. Another barrier is acceptability among peers and family members. Breaking down the stigma of mental illness in all communities is vital to reducing mental health disparities. Raising awareness will help eliminate mental health disparities among minorities.

BIPOC community members who feel like they cannot go to family members about mental health problems often resort to isolation, pain, and desperately need help but don’t know where to start. Understanding mental health support is accomplished by spreading awareness about mental health conditions and how they are common and treatable. Once awareness is spread among BIPOC communities, it will be easier for those affected by mental health issues to reach out for help and gain support.

Who Created Minority Mental Health Month?

Bebe Moore Campbell created Minority Mental Health Month. Minority Mental Health Month was established in May of 2008. The US House of Representatives announced that the month of July is named: Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This month focuses on raising awareness of mental health issues in minority communities and pushes for equal access and high-quality care.

Why Was Minority Mental Health Month Established?

Minority Mental Health Month was established to achieve two goals:

  • Improve access to mental health treatment and services
  • Enhance public awareness of mental illnesses among minorities.

Get Mental Health Treatment Online

Mental health treatment is available online. You can speak with one of our trusted, board-certified doctors or state-licensed therapists online to discuss your mental health symptoms. You do not have to suffer in silence. Start the conversation with your doctor and they can give you guidance and a treatment plan. You may also look into starting virtual therapy sessions to gain an understanding of the complexities of human emotion, relationships, and ways to cope with life stressors.

  • Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  • Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  • Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Mental Health Resources:


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Minority mental health and equity. Accessed on July 6, 2022 from Minority Health and Health Equity – CDC

National Institute of Health. National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (2017). Minorities and mental health: Moving beyond stigma. Accessed on July 6, 2022 from Minorities and Mental Health: Moving Beyond Stigma | (govdelivery.com)

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