Eliminating Mental Health Disparitiesby 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 http://nned.net/nmmham. You can also check out the National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/minoritymentalhealth.
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): http://www.samhsa.gov/behavioral-health-equity
Want to get even more involved? Check out these recommendations from the American Psychological Association (APA): http://www.apa.org/about/gr/issues/health-care/disparities.aspx
Reference: Smith, T. B., & Trimble, J. E. (2015). Foundations of Multicultural Psychology: Research to Inform Effective Practice. American Psychological Association (APA).