July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, a time where groups like OneEighty, NAMI, and others work to spread education on mental health services that are available, plus educating people on issues surrounding mental health.
During the Minority Mental Health Awareness Month though, we take a special focus on racially or ethnically-diverse communities in America, such as African-Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asian-Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, and multi-racial people.
Each community struggles with mental health issues just like any other racial group. But with these diverse communities issues such as stigma, language barriers, cultural beliefs, and insurance coverage can affect their abilities to receive proper diagnosis and treatment of a mental health illness or substance use issues.
According to Mental Health America, each of the aforementioned groups (which combined equals one in three total people who live in the United States) each have large numbers of people who reported having a diagnosable mental health illness or suffered from substance abuse.
Native Americans, Alaskan natives, and multi-racial people all reportedly suffered from the highest rates of groups (more than 26 percent) who had a diagnosed issue before a screening.
These groups also reported the highest rates of people who attempted, or made plans to commit suicide, and also had the highest rates of any racially or ethnically-diverse group that reported a substance abuse issue plus a mental health disorder.
Even Asian Americans — who were least likely to having a history of being diagnosed — showed more high rates of depression and anxiety during screenings for those mental health conditions.
This month is aimed at raising awareness and education to the mental health problems that afflict ethnically-diverse communities. Visit mhascreening.org to take a free screening from Mental Health America.
And visit with OneEighty to learn more about how we can help these communities with mental health services in Wayne County and Holmes County or addiction services.