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Ways to Understand Mental Health Disparities in the Minority Community


Ways to Understand Mental Health Disparities in the Minority Community

  • Mental Health

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.

Below are striking recent statistics from Mental Health America, the CDC, and NAMI on the current state of mental health in the United States.

  • 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.

When you think of the well-being of a child, you first think of basic needs: food, water, and shelter. Once these needs are met, however, it’s crucial for a child to have emotional and social wellness as well. In this article, we will explore the impact social wellness has on the overall health of a child and great ways for children to garner social support in their lives.

It comes as no surprise that as human beings, we all need connection with others, no matter what stage of life we are in. In fact, having social support is a social determinant of health (SDOH) that significantly impacts the health of an individual. After spending the last few years in and out of isolation due to the Covid-19 outbreak, social support is more important now than ever before. Having social support means having family members and friends you can talk to and seek advice from when life feels challenging and overwhelming. Knowing you’re not alone in your life journey, especially as a child, creates a sense of belonging and empowerment throughout one’s life.

4 Types of Social Support

Emotional Support. This type of support lets you know that people care about you and have empathy for your experiences. Emotional support often looks like people checking in on you to let you know they’re thinking of you, and that they are there if you need anything. As a parent, make sure your child knows you can be a sounding board for them. If you have family members who can also show up for your children in this way, even better!

Practical Help. This type of support is when people give you something tangible or offer a service to help you out. This could be in the form of money, making food when you are sick, or helping to pack when moving. Having family and friends show up in this way shows your child what it looks like to be present for people you love.

Sharing Points of View. This type of support can often come in the form of affirmations and encouragement. For example, pointing out your child’s strengths to them and reminding them they can do anything they put their mind to. It can also look like sharing another perspective if they are being hard on themselves. For example, if they are angry with themselves after receiving a bad grade on a test, you can help them see it as a learning experience and a way for them to grow.

Sharing Information. This type of support is when someone shares what they’ve learned from their own life experiences. For example, if another parent has a child who struggles with socializing, they can share some tips and tricks they’ve learned to help their child find and create social support.

The Importance of Social Groups and Extended Support

Children who are connected to their family, friends, and people in their community have opportunities to learn how to speak, share, and get along with others. When your child feels connected to people in your neighborhood, it often allows them to feel physically safe which can alleviate stress and worry. Simply riding bikes, going on walks, and saying hello to neighbors with your kids can create this sense of security for them.

In addition to engaging with your neighbors, getting involved in local organizations can also create social support for your child. Signing up for a sports team, musical theater, art class or summer camp are all great ways to help your child meet new friends and learn important social skills that can carry them through their lives.

Tips for Helping Kids Make Community Connections:

Spend time outside in your neighborhood playing on the playground, going to a local farmer’s market, or scheduling a playdate with neighborhood kids.

Show your kids that connection is a two-way street. If your neighbors or friends go out of town, offer to get their mail, or water their plants and take your child with you when you go. This will show your child how you show up for people you care about.

Make sure you make time for socializing with friends as well. Your child looks to you first and foremost for how they should act and live their own life.

Encourage your child to step out of their comfort zone and do something they may be scared to do. As a parent, it’s your job to push them into something social for their own well-being at times.