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Mental Health is a Minority Health Issue

Mha Mental Health Is A Minority Health Issue

Maureen Iselin

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July 27, 2019


Each July, Mental Health America celebrates National Minority Health Month, a time to focus on health issues specifically affecting minority populations in the country. One of the health issues not talked about enough is mental health—both the prevalence of mental illness in minorities and the disparities that still exist in mental health care for these groups.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), over 70% of Black/African American adolescents with a major depressive episode did not receive treatment for their condition. In addition, almost 25% of adolescents with a major depressive episode in the last year were Hispanic/Latino. As for Asian Americans, they found Asian American adults were less likely to use mental health services than any other racial/ethnic groups. Finally, in the past year, nearly 1 in 10 American Indian or Alaska Native young adult had serious thoughts of suicide.1

Many individuals in these minority groups face cultural and financial barriers when it comes to seeking and receiving treatment for their mental health conditions. For example, less than 2% of American Psychological Association members are Black/African American, causing some within that community to worry that mental health practitioners are not culturally competent enough to treat their specific issues. 2 As for the Hispanic/Latino community, in 2017 they had the highest uninsured rate in the United States3, which means less access to care.

During this Minority Health Month, however, it’s important to focus on steps everyone can take to maintain a mental wellness and seek help if needed. To learn more, visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net for a wide variety of resources and information.  


[1] https://www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/content.aspx?ID=9447
[2] American Psychological Association. (2014). Demographic characteristics of APA members by membership characteristics. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/workforce/publications/14-member/table-1.pdf
[3] https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2018/demo/p60-264.html





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