Mental illness affects one in five adults and one in 10 children in America, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Furthermore, mental illness is a leading cause of disability, yet nearly two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek treatment, and racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. are even less likely to get help, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.1
Mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender or identity. Anyone can experience the challenges of mental illness regardless of their background. However, culture, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation can make access to mental health treatment much more difficult.
When trying to access treatment, these communities have to contend with:
- Language barriers
- A culturally insensitive system
- Racism, bias and discrimination in treatment settings
- Lower quality care
- Lower chance of health care coverage
- Stigma from several angles (for being a minority and for having mental illness) 2
As a result, minorities are less likely to receive treatment for their mental illness, have less access to mental health services and often receive a poorer quality of mental health care.
Help raise awareness in your organization or community by encouraging family, friends, clients and loved ones to learn more about improving mental health during Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
OMH (Office of Minority Health) will participate in upcoming Twitter chats this month. You can join by following @MinorityHealth.
HRSA’s Behavioral Health
Thurs, July 20, 3-4pm ET
Minority Mental Health Disparities
Tues, July 25, 1-2pm ET
- (OMH) U.S. Department of Human Health and Services, Office of Minority Health
- (NAMI) National Alliance on Mental Illness