The month of July is dedicated to achieving equal access and quality for mental health among minority populations, which is currently inadequate and inferior. Minority mental health awareness is also aimed at the entire mental health field, which needs to find a way to better treat minorities who often need more help than other communities. Here at Clear View Behavioral Health, we are a mental health facility that proudly supports this month-long initiative. We believe in raising awareness so that all people can feel comfortable discussing mental health and seeking out help when necessary, which will hopefully end the disparity in mental health for minorities.
The Mental Health Disparity
The majority of people who experience mental health problems such as depression do not seek out the help they need. However, minorities are even less likely to do so. A large contributing factor to this is due to the the lack of access to quality mental health facilities in minority communities. There simply isn’t the same amount of mental health centers, and the quality thereof is lacking. The problems is only worsened by the fact that minority populations have a higher need. Research shows that minority groups have a much higher percentage of depression and suicide. For example, according to the CDC, among Native Americans and Alaska Natives in 2014, suicide was the second leading cause of death between the ages of 10 and 34. The lack of access to mental health facilities is a serious impediment to achieving health equity and helping communities such as Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
Stigma: Another Contributing Factor
Another large hurdle standing in the way of health equity is the stigma behind mental health disorders for minorities. In advertisements and commercials for mental health, minorities are rarely used as actors or discussed at all. The media depicts mental health as a non-minority issue, which then creates the stigma that if you are a minority experiencing mental health problems like depression, you cannot be helped. Mental health affects all human beings and the stigma against mental health disorders is a serious problem to be overcome, even moreso for minorities. Additionally, coupled with the lack of mental health facilities in minority communities and the higher need for quality help, minorities are even more harmed by this unfair and unhelpful stigma.
Can We Find a Solution?
Awareness of the problem is the first step, but much more needs to be done to create health equity across all groups of people. Firstly, mental health centers, psychologists, psychiatric hospitals, behavioral health centers and other facilities need to exist in and serve the minority communities that need the most help. Second, our culture surrounding mental health in general needs to change. People need to be encouraged to seek out help and counseling through more culturally sensitive advertisements and commercials. It’s also up to you. Individuals need to become advocates of mental health equity in their communities. If you or anyone you know, including someone of a minority group, is experiencing mental health difficulties, seek out proper treatment. At the Clear View Behavioral Health, our multidisciplinary staff is trained and ready to help minorities right here in our community in Larimer County. We are very conscious of the importance of every patient’s cultural background and believe that each patient deserves equal and individualized counseling for recovery. Please give us a call at (970)461-5061.