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From the Director's Desk: Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental health conditions do not discriminate. Each year, millions of Americans experience periods of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and other conditions that can affect their thinking, feelings or mood. Others not only experience mental health conditions, but one in 17 adults live with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and psychosis.

It’s important to know that anyone with symptoms of a mental illness should seek professional and/or medical care, just as they would if they were experiencing any chronic illness such as heart disease or diabetes. For those living in racial and ethnic minority communities, this may often seem difficult. The U.S. Surgeon General reports that minorities with mental health conditions:

  • Are less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for their mental illness,
  • Have less access to and availability of mental health services,
  • Often receive poorer quality of mental health care, and
  • Are underrepresented in mental health research.

When trying to access treatment, these groups are often faced with language barriers, cultural insensitivity, racism, bias and discrimination, a low chance of health care coverage and stigmas that stem from being a minority and having a mental illness.

These reasons and others are why Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was established. We can all play a role in raising awareness about mental illnesses and its effects on racial and ethnic minority populations. We can do this by starting conversations about mental health in our communities, stressing the importance of treatment from professionals who can combine a person’s beliefs and values into their treatment, and sharing personal experiences of dealing with mental illnesses or their symptoms.

For more information on minority mental health, click here.

Thanks for stopping by the Director’s Corner, where your health is our priority!