Message from the Department of Human Services (DHS):
Mental health issues can affect all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, ability, social class, sexual orientation or other social identity. However, systemic racism, implicit and explicit biases, and other circumstances that make individuals vulnerable can also make access to mental health treatment much more difficult.
Mental health care is important to a person’s overall well-being. Mental health problems are treatable and often preventable. Yet many people from historically marginalized groups face barriers to accessing needed care. These barriers, which have only been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, can include lack of or insufficient health insurance, lack of racial and ethnic diversity among mental health care providers, lack of culturally competent providers, financial hardship, discrimination and stigma. . Additionally, immigration status, economic conditions, education levels, and access to public health benefits are just a few differences that can negatively impact people’s experiences when seeking health care. Mental Health.
Since 2008, July has been designated National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to recognize and explore mental health issues within minority communities and to destigmatize mental illness and raise awareness about mental illness among affected minority groups across the country.
Addressing mental health challenges keeps us all busy.
All of society benefits when all have access to mental health care, supportive social conditions, freedom from stressors that can compromise mental health, and other resources necessary for health. We all have a role to play in promoting health equity.
Learn more about Minority Mental Health Month:
What is Mental Health Equity?
Mental health equity exists when everyone has a fair and equitable chance to achieve their highest level of mental health and emotional well-being.
Mental health disparities are defined as unfair differences in access or quality of mental health care based on race and ethnicity. Disparities can take many forms, are quite common and preventable. They can mean unequal access to good providers, differences in insurance coverage, or discrimination from doctors or nurses.
Mental Health Equity Statistics
- 1 in 5 American adults suffer from mental illness every year
- 1 in 20 American adults suffer from serious mental illness every year
- 1 in 6 young Americans between the ages of 6 and 17 suffers from a mental health disorder each year
- 50% of all lifetime mental illnesses begin at age 14 and 75% at age 24
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 34