Focus on Minority Mental Health Awareness in July By Katherine Young

Minority Mental Health Awareness has been recognized in July since 2008 by the U.S. House of Representatives. Bebe More Campbell, African American author, journalist, and spokesperson for those affected by mental illness, dedicated much of her time-sharing awareness about this often neglected area in minority communities1. Mental health affects all races and nationalities, but more often than not, there is a great deficit between the “haves” and the “have-nots” in minority communities in terms of receiving the necessary help to live a stable lifestyle or even keep the will to live.

According to Huffington Post, a study published by the International Journal of Health Services has found that African American and Hispanic young people were “less able to [receive] mental health services than white children and young adults.” Furthermore, here are several statistics that display just how important it is for all communities to speak up so that mental health care can be equitable and available for all2:

STATISTICS

20: Twenty-percent of African American adults are more likely to experience mental health issues than the rest of the population.

25: Twenty-five-percent of African Americans who seek treatment compared to forty-percent of white individuals’ due to misdiagnosis by doctors, socioeconomic factors, and lack of African American health professionals.

40: Forty-percent of Native Americans between the ages of 15-24 die by suicide and Native Americans have the highest rate of young adult suicide of any ethnicity.

90: Ninety-percent of all suicides occurred due to mental illness being a major factor.

Mental illness is not something that people should ignore or just assume that one can “get over.” The range of mental health issues can be anything from stressful periods at work to schizophrenia. It’s vital to get educated and advocate for equal services for all races and ethnicities.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255. You may also check out African American Psychiatrist Dr. Delvena Thomas’s posts on Facebook and her website at http://www.brainlove.com for more education.

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