Minority Mental Health is observed each year in July to shed light on the importance of mental health and acknowledge the range of struggles that different minority communities (i.e. racial, ethnic, sexual, gender, religious…etc) face within the United States. Many challenges faced by these minority communities are unique to personal experiences and/or reflect the systematic prejudices that are deep-rooted in American culture and society.
Racial/ethnic Minorities Mental health:
People from racial and ethnic minority groups are less likely to receive mental health care and treatment. In a survey conducted within adult Americans in 2015, 48% of white respondents reported having received mental health care, compared to 31% of black and hispanic and 22% percent of Asians.
Although rates of depression and depressive disorders are lowers in African-Americans (around 24.6%) as well as Hispanics (around 19.6%), than in white Americans (around 34.7%), depression in black and Hispanics groups are more likely to be persistent due to the lack of available mental health support.
Asians American/Pacific Islanders are least likely to seek mental health services than any other racial/ethnic group, which according to different surveys, can be attributed to the stigma surrounding mental health help and therapy in AAPI culture.
Trauma and traumatic events can greatly impact the mental health of large communities.
For example, 70%of southeast Asians refugees are diagnosed with PTSD linked to immigration. Moreover, almost one-third of asylum seekers in the United States struggle with depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
Sexual/Gender minorities Mental Health:
Recent surveys show that half of all LGBTQ+ identifying-individuals have experienced depression, and 6 out of 10 experience long-term anxiety. Furthermore, 1 out of every 8 LGBTQ+ person have engaged in self-harm. Almost half of all trans people have thought of suicide.
The intersectionality of these minorities, whether that is racial, ethnic, sexual, gender, religious etc, have shown to increased the chance of an individual developing different mental illnesses.
How we can help:
Through starting conversations with the individuals around us, we can greatly benefit their mental health and tackle the stigma surrounding minority mental health. Here are some tips:
- Listen to one another: Acknowledgement is the key in discussing any mental health concern-be open and honest in sharing thoughts.
- Put aside our differences: Never judge the person or try to invalidate someone’s emotions or experiences, even if you disagree with them. It’s good to ask questions, but do so in an understanding.