Mental illness is one of the most serious challenges facing our society today, yet it continues to be misunderstood and under-diagnosed — especially among minority groups in the United States. Understanding if you or a loved one needs mental health services and seeking help is crucial for restoring balance to your life.
Key Minority Mental Health Facts
Based on U.S. census data, there are approximately 118 million Americans who belong to a racial or ethnic minority. Just as with the majority group, mental illness and substance abuse create serious health challenges for many. For example, 12.3 percent of Asian Americans have a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder. For multi-racial individuals, that proportion increases to 28.1 percent, with other groups falling between these two extremes.
Though mental health issues are relatively common, barriers such as a lack of insurance coverage, cultural beliefs and stigmas, and language barriers keep many minorities from seeking the care they need.
What You Need to Know
Successful health outcomes depend on obtaining the necessary mental health services. Learn the warning signs of mental illness, such as excessive anxiety, long-lasting sadness, changes in sleeping and eating habits, or social withdrawal. Don’t be afraid to get a mental health screening if you or a loved one exhibits these symptoms. These screenings can clue you into any underlying issues you may be dealing with, and a doctor can help you start seeking out needed mental health care.
No matter what your racial or ethnic background, you shouldn’t let a lack of information or other barriers keep you from getting needed mental health services. Help is available to anyone who wants or needs it — you just have to reach out.