According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year.”
Mental health organizations across the country are dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. These various groups, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), believe that “taking on the challenges of mental health conditions, health coverage and the stigma of mental illness requires all of us.” Millions of Americans live with a mental health condition; yet, in many communities, the challenges associated with mental health conditions are greater because of less access to care, cultural stigma, and lower quality care.
Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
No matter your race, color, gender, or identity, mental health conditions affect all of us. Whether you know someone affected or you are facing challenges yourself, you are aware of how challenging it can be to find treatment. However, background and identity can make access to mental health treatment much more difficult.
In May of 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives announced July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. During this month, mental health groups focus on raising awareness about the unique struggles that underrepresented and marginalized groups face regarding mental illness in the United States.
"Once my loved ones accepted the diagnosis, healing began for the entire family, but it took too long. It took years. Can't we, as a nation, begin to speed up that process? We need a national campaign to destigmatize mental illness, especially one targeted toward African Americans...It's not shameful to have a mental illness. Get treatment. Recovery is possible."
–Bebe Moore Campbell, 2005
Poor mental health outcomes within underrepresented communities
The HHS Office of Minority Health has reported that “racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. are less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to use community mental health services, more likely to use emergency departments, and more likely to receive lower quality care.”
A lack of access to quality care contributes to poor mental health outcomes, including suicide, among racial and ethnic minority populations.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
In 2017, 41.5% of youth ages 12-17 received care for a major depressive episode, but only 35.1% of black youth and 32.7% of Hispanic youth received treatment for their condition.
Asian American adults were less likely to use mental health services than any other racial/ethnic group.
In 2017, 13.3% of youth ages 12-17 had at least one depressive episode, but that number was higher among American Indian and Alaska Native youth at 16.3% and among Hispanic youth at 13.8%.
In 2017, 18.9% of adults (46.6 million people) had a mental illness. That rate was higher among people of two or more races at 28.6%, non-Hispanic whites at 20.4% and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders at 19.4%.
Campaigns and Resources
Mental health groups and organizations in the U.S. continue to educate their communities about improving access to mental health care and treatment for underrepresented groups. They also create and provide unique ways to address these issues within different communities to break down negative perceptions and stigma about mental illness.
For example, this year, Mental Health America has launched the Depth of My Identity Campaign to increase understanding about identity within different communities and cultures.
Additionally, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has created a docuseries called Strength Over Silence: Stories Of Courage, Culture, and Community, which explores unique perspectives on mental health from the African-American and Latino communities. This series includes video testimonial from:
The Confess Project, a group that seeks to “equip marginalized men of color with mental health strategies and coping skills.”
A.J. Mendez, author, advocate and former WWE wrestler, who gives advice to Latino families and discusses how she believes her bipolar disorder is her superpower.
Jasmin Pierre, who created the Safe Place app “to give black people support and reduce the stigma around mental illness.”
There are many resources available online to help you find the help you need or to promote change and tackle the challenges within your community.
Seeking help near Tuscaloosa, AL?
If you’re suffering from a mental health condition, Crimson Care Skyland can help bridge you to the proper care you will need. As an Urgent Mental Health Center, we strive to help you in the best way we possibly can. For Urgent Mental Health Care, we are available Monday-Friday 8:30 AM - 7:00 PM. For Counseling and Consulting, appointments can be made for Tuesdays 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM. Please call (205) 507-1119. For our information hotline, call (205) 601-6195.
Learn more about health services available at Crimson Care in Tuscaloosa, AL.
Dr. Ramesh Peramsetty -- along with his entire Crimson Care team -- is committed to making medical services convenient and accessible. The clinic offers three Tuscaloosa locations: Crimson Care Skyland, Veterans Memorial, and First Care on McFarland. All locations offer extended weekday hours and one-stop treatment services, including medical care, x-rays, lab work, and prescription dispensing. Crimson Care also provides digital access through its online patient portal. Request prescription refills, complete any necessary patient forms online, review your medical records at any time, and even pay your bill. Check us out today on our website, or give us a call today at Crimson Care Veterans: (205) 507-1100, Crimson Care Skyland: (205) 507-1119, or First Care: (205) 349-2323.