July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental illnesses affect people of all backgrounds in every community worldwide. While the rates of illnesses vary somewhat across studies, about one of every five people are living with a diagnosable mental illness in any given year. Getting treatment can be difficult, and where you live and your population group matters. The National Institute of Mental Health, the part of the National Institutes of Health charged with researching prevention, treatment, recovery and cure for mental illnesses, reports that minorities receive sub-optimal access to and quality of care. Minority members are more likely to receive care in emergency departments and the hospital and less likely to receive care in their own communities. Those who live in rural areas are especially unlikely to receive specialty care. Adding to the difficulty finding appropriate care, people may also fear the stigma associated with their symptoms. Minority Mental Health Awareness Month reminds all of us to be aware of these health disparities, and to help support and advocate for mental health system improvement.
4 of every 10 HealthStreet members report having a mental health problem in their lives, with anxiety and depression the most common mental health problems reported. These findings reflect those found in almost every country around the globe.
For those in the Alachua County area, click here for a list of local events focused on minority mental health.