In the field of mental health, minority populations are often underrepresented and underserved. Minorities need to feel more comfortable seeking out counseling from mental health centers. Minority mental health awareness is also aimed at the mental health field, which needs to better accommodate minorities who are just as prone to mental illness as any population. Here at Strategic Behavioral Center in Raleigh, we are proud to be a mental health facility dedicated to all populations and stand behind this month’s goal to improve mental health among minorities.

The Disparity Among Minorities

It is an unfortunate fact that minorities are not as likely to go to mental health facilities. Additionally, the communities in which minorities live do not have enough resources or facilities to accommodate them. According to the National Alliance for Mental Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience mental health problems, including depression and suicide. Research also shows that Native Americans are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts and depression. Conversely, areas in which many minorities live are often devoid of mental health centers. Until mental health centers start to have more of a presence near minorities, a disparity will continue to exist.

The Stigma for Minorities

In media campaigns for mental health, the actor who appears to be suffering from depression is frequently played by a white man. Our media is a highly influential force and when that force only depicts mental health problems as a white man’s problem, it’s easy to assume, both consciously and subconsciously, that minorities do not experience mental health illnesses. All races and backgrounds experience mental health issues. Mental health is a human problem.  Minorities can often feel as though they aren’t susceptible to mental health problems or worse yet, that they are not welcome at locations where they can receive counseling. Due to the unequal treatment by the media and our culture, a stigma has been created which only worsens the disparity for mental health among minorities.

Can We Find a Solution?

A lot of work needs to be done in order to provide for minorities in the way they deserve. This month acknowledges the unequal treatment, but more needs to be done. Mental health centers need to be closer and more accessible to minorities. Advertisements and commercials need to focus on representing all ethnicities. We need to talk about mental health among all humans, not just non-minority groups. Additionally, a major factor in adding stress to minorities is poverty, which needs to be acknowledged by mental health centers, psychologists, and government institutions. Psychologists, behavioral health centers, psychiatric hospitals, and all other facilities dealing with mental health need to be trained to accommodate and welcome people from all ethnic backgrounds. It’s also a responsibility for all of us to be advocates. Speak up for minorities and underserved and underrepresented communities. Speak up for equality. If you or anyone you know, including someone of a minority group, is experiencing mental health difficulties, help them seek out proper treatment. At the Strategic Behavioral Center in Raleigh, our staff is trained and ready to deal with these situations. We understand the importance of every patient’s cultural background and believe that each patient deserves equal and individualized counseling for recovery. Please give us a call at (855)537-2262.