July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
July is Minority Mental Health Month, or as it’s more fully recognized by NAMI, Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Named for an author, advocate, and co-founder of NAMI Urban Los Angeles and national spokesperson, its primary goal is to improve access to mental health treatment and services and promote public awareness of mental illness, and enhance public awareness of mental illness particularly among minority groups.
A recent report by SAMHSA revealed gaps in treatment for some behavioral health conditions among racial or ethnic minority populations. It found that among adolescents aged 12 – 17 who had a major depressive episode, approximately 4 in 10 (41.6 percent) of White adolescents received treatment for depression in the past year prior to being surveyed, while only 36.9 percent of Hispanic or Latino adolescents, and 28.6 percent of Black adolescents received treatment. You can read the full barometer from SAMHSA’s 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health here.
Further, Mental Health America surveys and studies have found that:
- 63 percent of African Americans believe that depression is a personal weakness, which is significantly higher than the overall survey average of 54 percent.
- Only 31 percent of African Americans believed that depression was a health problem.
- 36 percent of Hispanics with depression received care, versus 60 percent of whites.
- 10.8 percent of Asian American high school students report having attempted suicide, versus 6.2 percent of whites.
- Asian Americans are significantly less likely than whites to report mental health problems to a friend or relative (12 percent versus 25 percent), to a mental health professional (4 percent versus 26 percent), or to a physician (2 percent versus 13 percent).
While minority groups are projected to make up over 40% of the US population by 2025, mental health care systems fall short in providing adequate care or equal access to care to those groups. These groups are often underserved or inappropriately served. To learn more about Minority Mental Health Month and how we can all help, check out NAMI’s Minority Mental Health web page.