Topic of the Month

July Observance: Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

The goal of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is to help make people more aware of the effects of mental illness on minorities in your community. Mental illness affects one in five adults and one in 10 children in America. It is a leading cause of disability, yet nearly two-thirds of people with a mental illness do not seek treatment, and racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. are even less likely to get help.

What is mental health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life. Many things contribute to mental health problems, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry.
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse.
  • Family history of mental health problems.

Mental health disparities (differences)

A health disparity is a type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage. Health disparities have negative effects on groups of people who have had problems accessing health care, or who have experienced discrimination due to their:

  • Racial or ethnic group.
  • Socioeconomic status.
  • Gender or gender identity.
  • Sexual orientation
  • Mental health.
  • Cognitive, sensory, or physical disability.
  • Geographic location.
  • Other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion.

Minorities are less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for their mental illness. They have less access to and availability of mental health services. They often receive a poorer quality of mental health care.

In particular, behavioral health disparities and their impact prove the need for an increased focus on effective prevention, treatment, and services for diverse populations.

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Tips from our docs

This month, our healthy tip is brought to you by F. Kiko Torres, MD, our Chief Medical Officer. If you live with mental illness, you may be struggling to find treatment, manage your medication, and cope with life’s challenges effectively. But you are not alone! Mental health conditions are treatable, and you can take steps to recover your life. Recovery from mental conditions is a process of change through which people work to improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to achieve their full potential.

Four major areas support a life in recovery:

  1. Health. Making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being.
  2. Home. Having a stable and safe place to live.
  3. Purpose. Taking part in meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, or volunteering.
  4. Community. Building relationships and social networks that provide support.

Our website offers more information and resources on behavioral health.