By Denise Morganthall
National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month aims to increase awareness of mental illness, treatment and research in diverse communities. KidsPeace supports this cause, hoping to see improved access to mental health treatment and services for all.
It is reported that minorities are many times underrepresented in mental health research, often receive a poorer quality of mental health care, have less access to and availability of services and are less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for their mental illness.
Other facts to consider are that 20 percent of African Americans are more likely to report having serious psychological distress than non-Hispanic whites. The death rate from suicide for African American men was almost six times that for African American women. Suicide attempts for Hispanic girls (grades 9 -12) were 20 percent higher than for Caucasian girls in the same age group. Adolescent Indian/Alaska natives have death rates at twice the rate for whites in the same age group.
Mental illness does not discriminate against race, gender or age; however minorities seem to get lost in the system. There are many factors that have been found to contribute to this, such as cultural stigma, language barriers and resource limitations. Let’s all work together to prevent this from continuing to happen by creating awareness. We are all in this together; let’s show our support and hope to see some positive changes in the future!