July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Culture, race, gender, ethnicity, age and sexual orientation are all factors that can influence mental health. Today we highlight recent information about our diverse communities and what Californians can do to help.

A recent UCLA study on low-income African-American and Latino U.S. residents shows that these communities are disproportionately affected by mental health issues due to various environmental stresses. These challenges include experiences of discrimination due to racial, ethnic, gender or sexual orientation, history of sexual abuse, history of violence in the community and more. Moreover, many members of diverse communities may feel heightened stigma associated with a mental health challenge and are therefore unwilling to reach out and get the help they need.

To raise awareness, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) created the Multicultural Mental Health infographic below on mental health challenges across diverse communities, the various critical issues they face and ways to get help. Visit NAMI for more information.

via Multicultural Mental Health Facts and Info – Each Mind Matters – California’s Mental Health Movement.

Multicultural Mental Health. Does mental health matter? Mental health directly and indirectly impacts all of us. 1 in every 5 adults in the U.S. experiences a mental health condition. 1 in every 5 children ages 13-18 have or will have a serious mental health condition. Mental health is part of overall health. Mental health conditions cause changes in thoughts, feelings and mood. Mental health conditions can affect many areas of your life including: home, work, school, relationships with others, sleep, appetite, decision making and may worsen other medical problems. Does mental health affect my community? Culture, race, ethnicity, gender, age and sexual orientation influence mental health care rates, attitudes, access and treatment. Percentage of adults with mental health conditions by race (2012): Hispanic 16.3%, White 19.3%, Black 18.6%, Asian 13.9%, Native American/Alaska Native 28.3%. At 28.3%, Native Americans & Native Alaskans have the highest rate of mental health conditions among all communities. Percentage of adults with mental health conditions by age: 21.2% ages 18-25, 19.6% ages 26-49, 15.8% ages 50+. Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual & Questioning (LGTBQ) youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth. LGTBQ individuals are 2 or more times more likely as straight individuals to have a mental health condition. What critical issues do multicultural communities face? Less access to treatment. Less likely to receive treatment. Poorer quality of care. Higher levels of stigma. Culturally insensitive health care system. Racism, bias, homophobia or discrimination in treatment settings. Language barriers. Lower rates of health insurance. Mental health service use by race (2008-2012): White Male 11.3%, White Female 21.5%, Black Male 6.6%, Black Female 10.3%, Native American & Native Alaskan Male 16.3%, Native American & Native Alaskan Female 15.1%, Asian Male 4.4%, Asian Female 5.3%, Hispanic Male 5.5%, Hispanic Female 9.2%. Disparities in care: Provider bias and lack of cultural sensitivity result in misdiagnosis and/or people dropping out of care. 11% of transgender individuals reported being denied care by mental health clinics due to bias or discrimination. Signs Someone May Need Help: Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than 2 weeks (e.g., crying regularly, feelings fatigued, feeling unmotivated). Trying to harm or kill oneself or making plans to do so. Out-of-control, risk-taking behaviors that can cause harm to self or others. Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart, physical discomfort or fast breathing. Sudden or unexplained physical aches and pains such as headaches or backaches. Severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships. Repeated use of drugs or alcohol. Drastic changes in behavior, personality or sleeping or eating habits (e.g., waking up early, not eating or eating too much or throwing up). Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still that can lead to failure in school or problems at work. Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities like hanging out with friends or going to classes or work. Is there hope? Recovery is possible. People with mental health conditions can recover and live full and successful lives. Cultural competence in service delivery can greatly increase access and quality for diverse communities. Ways to get help: Talk to your doctor. Get a referral to a mental health specialist. Work together to make a plan. Connect with others. Learn more about mental health. Ask how your culture will be integrated in your treatment. Visit www.nami.org/multicultural. Follow us! Facebook.com/officialNAMI  Twitter.com/NAMIcommunicate  NAMI National Alliance on Mental Illness www.nami.org


6 responses to “Multicultural Mental Health Facts”

  1. Yes. Very important for clinicians to understand the cultures of their patients.

  2. Sorry ‘with your plan’

  3. One of the key points I saw was, how to integrate your culture with your mental illness

  4. This is really informative!

  5. This is great information, Kitt. I know I’m privileged.

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