In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives established July as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (NMMHAM). The goal is to improve access to mental health treatment and services for multicultural communities through increased public awareness. (www.nned.net)
Minorities are less likely to receive a diagnosis and treatment for their mental illness, have less access to and availability of mental health services and often receive a poorer quality of mental health care. And high-income communities are more likely to have access to specialty mental health treatment resources than low-income areas.
Mental health disparities present a considerable threat to the most vulnerable populations in our society. These disparities are seen in the tremendously high rates of substance use in American Indian/Alaska Natives, elevated rates of suicide among LGBT youth, and reduced access to prevention services among people living in rural areas, and it tears down the health and wellness of these populations, and of our society.
A study published by the American Psychological Association (APA) revealed that there are significant barriers to getting quality mental health services for minorities in this country.
Here are some suggestions on ways to overcome these disparities (www.nami.org)
1) Follow national standards.
2) Educate and train mental health staff to be culturally competent.
3) Develop culture-specific mental health education tools.
4) Establish and engage community partners.
5) Continue conversations and research.
To effect positive change, it is vitally important to understand how mental illness stigma affects racial and ethnic minorities, and what its impact has on their recovery.
Be an advocate, help eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness. Reach out and offer your support to someone you feel may be suffering; it may help to remind them they are not alone.
Meridien Research is dedicated to helping all patients with mental health disorders and strives to bring quality healthcare to everyone in our communities. We have 6 sites located throughout Florida and many of Meridien Research’s sites are involved in research studies for: Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder (ADHD), Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Schizophrenia.
To learn more about the research studies currently being conducted, please call 888-777-8839 or check the study links online.