The pandemic and systemic racism has caused so much angst this summer. So it’s important to talk about National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
The House of Representatives started this annual observation in 2008 in honor of mental health advocate and writer Bebe Moore Campbell.
The Department of Health and Human Services is highlighting its free and accredited e-learning program: Improving Cultural Competency for Behavioral Health Professionals. This program is part of the Office of Mental Health’s Think Cultural Health E-learning courses.
Despite advances in health equity, disparities in mental health care persist. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that racial and ethnic minority groups in the United States are:
- Less likely to have access to mental health services.
- Less likely to use community mental health services.
- More likely to use emergency departments.
- More likely to receive lower quality care.
All this adds up to poor mental health outcomes, including suicide. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the CDC:
- In 2017, 10.5% (3.5 million) of young adults age 18 to 25 had serious thoughts of suicide including 8.3% of non-Hispanic blacks and 9.2% of Hispanics.
- In 2017, 7.5% (2.5 million) of young adults age 18 to 25 had a serious mental illness including 7.6% of non-Hispanic Asians, 5.7% of Hispanics and 4.6% of non-Hispanic blacks.
- Feelings of anxiety and other signs of stress may become more pronounced during a global pandemic.
- People in some racial and ethnic minority groups may respond more strongly to the stress of a pandemic or crisis.