By: Amelia Lin
Every day in this country, we are surrounded by differences that can too easily divide ourselves. Whether it’s race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, diversity is one of the greatest effects of American freedom. This variety of language, religion, and culture is one that deserves the utmost respect. How we distribute mental health services across the nation should reflect these values.
Minority Mental Health Month draws awareness to these differences that might challenge minorities when it comes to seeking the help they need because of the many barriers in the way. First and foremost, the stigma around mental health is still overwhelming across cultures and lifestyles. As a result, minorities might feel the pressure to ignore or undermine serious mental illnesses. If they do decide to seek outside help, the lack of diverse representation among healthcare professionals can sometimes act as another barrier between them and getting the service they deserve. It’s hard for an individual to find guidance in a counselor when the two don’t speak the same language.
Because of this,
- 40% of Native American youth die by suicide
- Only 8.6% of Asian Americans seek out any kind of mental health care throughout their life
- There has been an 89% increase in suicides among Native American Women
- Only 25% of African Americans seek treatment compared to 40% of their white counterparts
- Only 36% of Hispanics/Latinx communities reported to have received the care that they needed for their mental health issues
These numbers need to begin improving. Mental health awareness is something that should be working its way through more than just the majority. Minorities deserve and evidently need our equal amount of attention, care, and support.