The entire month of July is dedicated to reaching health equity for minorities. Unfortunately, the access and quality of mental health facilities for minority populations is inadequate. Minority mental health awareness is also aimed at the mental health field, which needs to better accommodate minorities who are just as prone to mental illness as any population. Here at Carolina Dunes Behavioral Health, we are proud to be a mental health facility that supports this month-long initiative for equality and to end the mental health disparity.
WHAT IS THE MENTAL HEALTH DISPARITY?
While many people who experience mental health illnesses do not seek out the help they need, minorities are even less likely to do so. This is partly because of the lack of access to quality mental health facilities in minority communities. The problems is compounded by the fact that minority populations are often more in need of help and more frequently experience issues such as depression and suicidal thoughts. 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. African Americans and Latinos also experience higher percentages of depression and suicide. The lack of access to mental health facilities is a serious impediment to achieving health equity.
THE STIGMA FOR MINORITIES
The other obstacle facing health equity is the stigma behind mental health disorders. In advertisements and commercials for mental health, minorities are rarely used as actors or discussed at all. Essentially, the media depicts mental health as a non-minority issue. Consequently, the media is giving the message that minorities do not experience mental health illnesses. Everyone is susceptible to mental health issues, and as mentioned earlier, even more so for minorities. A general stigma exists around mental health that prevents many people from seeking the help they need at mental health centers. However, coupled with the lack of such facilities and the higher need for quality help, minorities are even more harmed by this unfair and unhelpful stigma, which is much more pronounced among minority populations.
CAN WE FIND A SOLUTION?
This month-long initiative is a good start for achieving mental health equity, but much more needs to be done. For example, mental health centers, psychologists, psychiatric hospitals, behavioral health centers and other facilities need to be closer and more accessible to minorities, while still providing quality care. The culture surrounding mental health needs to change. It should be a subject that any person can feel comfortable discussing. It’s also the responsibility for every individual to stand up against unequal treatment. Become an advocate and support your minority community. If you or anyone you know, including someone of a minority group, is experiencing mental health difficulties, seek out proper treatment. At Carolina Dunes Behavioral Health, our multidisciplinary staff is trained and ready to help minorities. 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 855-537-2262.