Some Facts Behind the Importance of BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month

Posted by Taylor Michel on

 

According to the 2017 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report published by the US Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research an Quality, Americans have historically “experienced variable access to care based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and residential location.” And while some disparities saw a decrease between 2000 and 2015, some persist, especially for poor and uninsured populations.

Some of the statistics related to these disparities include:

  • Trends show that about 55% percent of quality measures are improving overall for Blacks. However, most recent data in 2014-2015 show that about 40% of quality measures were worse for Blacks compared with Whites.
  • Trends show that about 60% of quality measures are improving overall for Asians. However, most recent data in 2014-2015 show that 20% of quality measures were worse for Asians compared with Whites.
  • Trends show that almost 35% of quality measures are improving overall for American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs). However, most recent data in 2014-2015 show that about 30% of quality measures were worse for AI/ANs compared with Whites.
  • Trends show that about one-quarter of quality measures are improving overall for Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (NHPIs). However, most recent data in 2014-2015 show that nearly one-third of quality measures were worse for NHPIs compared with Whites.
  • Trends show that about 60% of quality measures are improving overall for Hispanics, but in 2014-2015, nearly one-third of quality measures were worse for Hispanics compared with non-Hispanic Whites.
  • Variation in care persisted across the urban-rural continuum in 2014-2016, especially in access to care and care coordination.

One of the intentions behind the observance of BIPOC Mental Health Awareness throughout the month of July is to highlight these facts and bring awareness to the reality that minorities are severely underrepresented in terms of not just quality mental health care, but mental health advocacy in general. The stigmas surrounding mental illnesses affect absolutely everyone that suffers, but when your demographic isn’t afforded the same opportunities to seek treatment as others, this signals a need to evoke change on a major scale – mental health issues do not discriminate, and thus neither can the avenues by which we seek help for these issues.

According to the US Census, 41.8% of the US population are People of Color (POC). Further, since 2014 more than 5 million people have taken a mental health screening at Mental Health America, and of those who have shared their personal information, the following statistics were discovered:

  • 8.22% were Asian American/Pacific Islanders
  • 7.3% were Black/African American
  • 11.5% were Latinx/Hispanic
  • 1% were Native or Indigenous
  • 8% were Multi-Racial or “Other

In other words, 36.02% of the more than 5 million screeners identified as a member of the BIPOC community.

Among this population of mental health screeners:

  • People identifying as Multi-Racial were the most likely to screen positive or at-risk for:
    • Alcohol/substance use disorders
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Eating disorders
    • Psychosis
  • People identifying as Native or Indigenous were the most likely to screen positive or at-risk for
    • Bipolar disorder
    • PTSD
  • People identifying as Black/African American were slightly less likely to screen positive or at-risk for
    • Alcohol/substance use disorders
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Eating disorders
    • Psychosis
  • People identifying as Asian American/Pacific Islanders were slightly less likely to screen positive or at-risk for
    • Bipolar disorder
    • PTSD

These are not insignificant numbers, but these are treatable issues, and we would almost certainly see a decrease in these percentages if we can only bring about a change that will result in increased accessibility to quality mental health care across each of these demographic groups.

For more information on how you can help focus awareness about the impact of these health disparities, head on over to the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Are you interested in a free, anonymous, and confidential mental health screening? Go here for more information.

 


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