Friday, July 1, 2016

Eliminating Mental Health Disparities

Eliminating Mental Health Disparities

by Guest Blogger, Alicia Brown, M.A.

Did you know that July is National Minority Mental Health Month? For minority individuals with mental health problems, their symptoms may go undiagnosed, under-diagnosed, or misdiagnosed due to cultural, linguistic, and/or historical factors.

When mental health problems are not diagnosed properly, appropriate treatment options may not be provided. This can result in prolonging the suffering of individuals who otherwise could have experienced a reduction in symptoms through treatment.

According to research by Smith and Trimble (2015), minority populations are significantly less likely than white European-Americans to use mental health services:

· African Americans: 21% less likely

· Hispanics/Latinos: 25% less likely

· Asian-Americans: 51% less likely

Every year, the National Network to Eliminate Disparities (NNED) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) partner to provide a series of webinars to celebrate the month. For more information, go to You can also check out the National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month Facebook page at

Want to learn more about behavioral health equity for specific minority populations? Check out this resource from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

Want to get even more involved? Check out these recommendations from the American Psychological Association (APA):

Reference: Smith, T. B., & Trimble, J. E. (2015). Foundations of Multicultural Psychology: Research to Inform Effective Practice. American Psychological Association (APA).


Alicia Brown is a psychology intern at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center where she is completing her APA accredited internship. She is getting her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Regent University.