It is firmly established that different minority communities experience mental health disorders to different degrees. But to the non-psychologist, it may be difficult to understand how or why this happens.
In any given year, about 18% of adults in the United States will live with a diagnosable mental health condition. Moreso, 35.8% of individuals who are multiracial experience a high rate of mental health conditions.
What is not uniform, however, is the burden of disability that mental disorders cause. Different groups suffer more acutely from different behavioral health issues for a variety of factors. Some of these may seem obvious, but others might be surprising or counterintuitive.
Furthermore, the effects of these mental health disorders are longer lasting in minority members, further increasing the toll that they take on their communities.
- 15.08% of youth (age 12-17) reported going through at least one major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year.
- It is more probable for childhood depression to persist into adulthood if left untreated. However, only half of children with pediatric major depression are diagnosed before adulthood.
- The national rate of adults suffering suicidal ideation has increased yearly since 2011-2012.
- 4.91% of adults are experiencing a severe mental illness.
- Rates of mental health-related emergency department visits by race and Hispanic ethnicity were higher among non-Hispanic Black adults (96.8 visits per 1,000 adults), followed by non-Hispanic White (53.4) and Hispanic (36.0) adults.
- Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are almost 4x more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth.
- 79% of people who die of suicide are male.
- Transgender adults are almost 9x more likely to attempt suicide during their lifetime.
Let’s take a closer look at the causes of these disparities and how they affect disparate populations in the United States.
What Causes Mental Health Disparities?
There are many factors that could contribute to increased rates of mental health disabilities in minority populations, including:
- Race-related stress
- Lack of insurance
- Language barriers
- Cultural stigma against mental illness
- Few educational resources
- Lack of access to quality mental health resources
- Correlation with incidents of chronic health concerns
Usually, a combination of the above factors works together to create a unique set of mental health dangers for each particular ethnic group.
What are Some Disparities in Minority Communities?
Here are some researched-based findings from the APA about the mental health burdens facing different minority groups in America.
- African Americans: While the rates of mental disorders among African Americans are commensurate with that of the general population, only one-third of African Americans who are in need of mental health services actually receive them. African Americans frequently lack health insurance and often do not have culturally competent providers available to them.
- Hispanics/Latinos: Over 20% of Hispanics are uninsured, which is nearly three times the rate of White non-Hispanics. According to NAMI, the annual prevalence of mental illness among Hispanic or Latino adults in the U.S. is 20.7%.
- American Indian/Alaskan Native: Members of this community have higher rates of mental health disorders than the general population. Some of this burden can be attributed to generational historical trauma that the population has suffered
- Refugees: Refugees often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other post-migration stressors, which sometimes ease if their resettlement is peaceful. Others may face years of emotional distress due to violence or persecution.
Contact Us Today
If you or someone you love suffers from any of the mental health concerns addressed in this article, don’t wait any longer. Contact Advanced Behavioral Health today.
At Advanced Behavioral Health, our compassionate mental health care professionals are invested in your well-being and will give you the care you are searching for. You can call us at 301-345-1022 or send us a message online here. One of our team members will help you find the care you need.