In recognition of National Minority Health Month, Mental Health America is calling for action to end the disparities that exist for people of color in need of mental health care and treatment.
Evan more than other areas of health and medicine, the mental health field is plagued by disparities in the availability of and access to its services. Financial barriers often prevent too many Americans from receiving mental health care, regardless of whether or not they have insurance. According to the then U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher nearly a decade ago, there were striking disparities in mental health care for racial and ethnic minorities. “We have allowed stigma and a now unwarranted sense of hopelessness about the opportunities for recovery to erect these barriers. It is time to take them down,” he said in 2001.
Overall, only one-third of Americans with a mental illness or a mental health problem get care. Yet, the percentage of Afican Americans receiving needed care is only half that of of non- Hispanic whites. Nearly one out of two Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders have difficulty accessing mental health treatment because they do not speak English or cannot find services that meet their language needs.
Source: Mental Health America, April 15, 2009