Mental health is an important part of every individual’s overall well-being. Unfortunately, more than 20% of adults in the United States experience mental illness every year.1 Mental health problems do not discriminate and can affect anyone, but some people are at a greater risk of dealing with their mental health than others.
Individuals in racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual minorities experience notable rates of mental health problems. Addressing these mental health disparities in minorities is an integral part of ensuring everyone has access to and receives the care they need and deserve. What leads to these disparities in minority mental health, and what are some ways mental health care can rise up to help those most in need?
Minority Mental Health
While individuals in minority groups do not necessarily experience higher rates of mental health conditions, the consequences of mental illness among these groups may be more impactful. For example, many ethnic and racial minorities experience disproportionately higher rates of disability resulting from mental disorders.2
Additionally, while Black and Hispanic individuals experience lower rates of depression, their depression is often more persistent. Since individuals in minorities experience a greater impact from mental health conditions, offering adequate care is a vital part of improving outcomes.
Recognizing Mental Health Disparities in Minorities
Research indicates that mental health disorders develop from a combination of biological and environmental factors. While almost all people experience similar biological influences on mental health, some are more likely to experience environmental risk factors than others, particularly minority groups.3 Some of these factors include:
- Socioeconomic status
- Exposure to childhood adversities (maltreatment, parental incarceration, violence, and parental instability)
- Neighborhood-level stressors (neighborhood safety, amount of social support, neighborhood segregation, quality of neighborhood resources)
- Family structure
- Practitioner bias
- Limited cultural competence
Recognizing these inequities is the first step to addressing mental health disparities in minorities. Communities and programs are working to improve offerings and reduce these disparities. In the meantime, service providers must fill in the gaps to offer assistance and improve minority mental health.
Providing Help for Those in Need
The population in the United States is becoming increasingly diverse. Studies suggest that by 2044, more than half of Americans will be part of a minority group.2 Taking the time to address mental health disparities in minorities now will lead to better outcomes in the future. Some of the ways to improve minority mental health include:
- Improved access to mental health care
- Positive home and school environments
- Stable parental mental health
- High levels of social support
- Increased community involvement
- Positive racial and ethnic identity
Treatment programs can also take steps to improve cultural competence and meet individuals where they are. Facilities like Clearview Treatment Programs understand the unique needs of individuals in minority groups and take steps to provide informed and compassionate care.
If you or a loved one are struggling with your mental health, the team at Clearview Treatment Programs can help. Call us at 310-455-5258 or submit an online contact form today to speak with an admissions specialist and learn more about the services we have available.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2022). National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2021.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2017). Mental Health Disparities: Diverse Populations.
- American Psychological Association. (2017). Ethnic and Racial Minorities & Socioeconomic Status.