July is National Minority Mental Health Month, a time to continue the visionary work of Bebe Moore Campbell who worked tirelessly to end the stigma and shed a light on the mental health needs of the Black community and other underrepresented communities. As we recognize this month and the dedication to addressing the mental health needs of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), it is important to understand more about the challenges these communities are facing.
Mental health issues can affect any race, ethnicity, or background, however, roughly two-thirds of those with a mental health disorder seek treatment. For minority individuals that number is even higher.
According to SAMHSA’s 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health:
“Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General,” says, “Despite the existence of effective treatments, disparities lie in the availability, accessibility and quality of mental health services for racial and ethnic minorities.” Minority racial and ethnic groups often have barriers when seeking professional help for many reasons such as those listed below:
Additionally, research from NAMI has shown that for those who do seek treatment, the type of service varies among the community. Adults who identify as more than two races are more likely to receive outpatient services and are more likely to use prescription medication for mental health issues than any other ethnic group. Black and African Americans frequently use inpatient health services and Asian/Native Hawaiians, and Other Pacific Islanders are less likely to use any mental health services.
We know that treatment for mental health issues is not the same for all ethnic groups, but we can all be advocates to improve the system for these communities. Below are just a few things that can be done to help those who are most vulnerable get the help they need:
Minority communities are no different than others in that they want to live a healthy life. By working together and advocating for a better system, we can help redefine what a healthy community looks like across all communities.
“Once my loved ones accepted the diagnosis, healing began for the entire family, but it took too long. It took years. Can’t we, as a nation, begin to speed up that process? We need a national campaign to destigmatize mental illness, especially one targeted toward African Americans…It’s not shameful to have a mental illness. Get treatment. Recovery is possible.” –Bebe Moore Campbell, 2005
Yellowbrick collaborates with adolescents and emerging adults, ages 16-30's, their families and participating professionals toward the development and implementation of a strategic “Life Plan.” An integrative, multi-specialty consultation clarifies strengths, limitations, and risks, and defines motivations, goals and choices.
A mental health condition that’s characterized by intense shifts in mood including both manic and depressive episodes.
People living with Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, experience episodes of depression and sadness that are debilitating to daily life.
Those living with anxiety disorders experience high levels of anxiety and stress that interfere negatively with daily life.
A mental health issue in which a person’s cognitive function is impaired, resulting in symptoms like experiencing challenges with conducting speech, reading and writing, and behavior.
Mental health disorders that negatively affect a person’s behaviors, thought patterns, and function. People diagnosed with these disorders experience challenges with managing relationships and understanding various situations.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that people can develop as a result of experiencing traumatic situations, characterized by symptoms including flashbacks, avoidance behaviors, and more.
A mental health condition that is characterized by specific symptoms of forgetfulness and lack of concentration, which makes it challenging to complete necessary tasks.
Mental health conditions that interfere with a person’s eating habits, thought patterns, and behaviors in negative ways.
A mental health disorder diagnosable with the DSM-5 that is characterized by both obsessions and compulsive behaviors.