Mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender, or identity. Anyone can develop a mental health problem, which is exactly why it is important that quality mental health care be made available and accessible on a much larger scale.
In fact, a shortage of mental health care providers has been documented nationwide in the US – data was released in March 2020 by the Health Resources & Services Administration indicating that only about 27% of geographic areas have enough mental health practitioners, leaving 73% under-represented in terms of mental health care coverage. These numbers are incredibly distressing, especially considering that it doesn’t take a logical leap to arrive at the conclusion that the facts represented by these numbers contribute directly to the disparity in total quality of life experienced by members of the BIPOC community. In this vein, we want to present you with a brief overview of information pertaining specifically to the Black/African American community:
African Americans, like many minority communities, are more likely to experience socioeconomic disparities such as exclusion from health, educational, social, and economic resources, which very well may contribute to worse mental health outcomes. To make matters even worse, historically, African Americans have been and continue to be negatively affected by prejudice and discrimination in the health care system. Misdiagnoses, inadequate treatment, and lack of cultural competence by health care professionals create a distrust and prevent many African Americans from seeking or maintaining treatment regimens.
Compounding this issue is the fact that African Americans are 20% more likely to experience mental health issues than the rest of the population.
Further, approximately 30% of African American adults with mental illness receive treatment each year, compared to the US average of 43%.
These may be tough facts to swallow, but numbers don’t lie.
We've said it before, but we will continue to say it until things change: We can't all truly heal until we can ALL truly heal.
And in order for us to ALL truly heal, then quality mental health care must be made available and accessible to all, regardless of race, color, gender, identity, or anything thing else that can be used to differentiate people from each other.
As with our other posts on the topic of Black Mental Health, we have included a list of resources for your perusal if you are curious to learn more:
- BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month | The STARR Coalition
- Virus, racism pose more mental health risks for black Americans - Roll Call
- Home - The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation
- Black and African American Communities and Mental Health | Mental Health America
- Black Americans Face Higher Barriers To Getting Good Mental Health Support : Shots - Health News : NPR
- Family experience drives quest to help people facing mental health issues - News - Akron Beacon Journal - Akron, OH