July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Minority Mental Health Awareness Month-2

To celebrate National Minority Mental Health Month, LATISM hosted a #MentalHealth Twitter Chat featuring the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.

The purpose of the twitter chat was to heighten awareness about the mental health issues in communities of color, mental health disparities, and promote health equity for all racial and ethnic populations.

Mental illness is the leading cause of disability, yet minorities are less likely to seek treatment and have less access to mental health services.

SAMHSA issued a report titled The Behavioral Health Equity Barometer 2014 which found that adults without health insurance were more likely to suffer from mental illness–it’s worth noting that Hispanics remain the largest uninsured population.

Moreover, the report revealed that over 70 percent of African American adolescents with a major depressive episode did not receive treatment for their condition. Cost of service and lack of insurance coverage was the most frequently cited reason for not using mental health services across all racial/ethnic groups. 

Substantial gaps exist by demographic characteristics such as insurance coverage status, disability, income, and English proficiency. Interestingly, factors such as income level, geographic location, and insurance status were considered “key determinants of disparities in behavioral health across populations.”

We salute SAMHSA and Office of Minority Health for their efforts to reduce health disparities that continue to plague our nation.

LATISM is privileged to collaborate in this very important effort. As we aim to build public awareness about the importance of behavioral health and health equity, we urge our community to take time to visit http://www.samhsa.gov/behavioral-health-equity and learn how to take action. You can also find resources here about addressing health disparity.

By: Wendy Rivera, Esq. (@WendyRivera_Esq)

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