Message from the Department of Human Services (DHS):
Mental health conditions can impact all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, ability, class, sexual orientation, or other social identities. However, systemic racism, implicit and explicit bias, and other circumstances that make individuals vulnerable can also make access to mental health treatment much more difficult.
Mental health care is important to a person’s overall wellbeing. Mental health conditions are treatable and often preventable. Yet many people from historically marginalized groups face obstacles in accessing needed care. These obstacles, which have only been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, may include lack of or insufficient health insurance, lack of racial and ethnic diversity among mental health care providers, lack of culturally competent providers, financial strain, discrimination, and stigma. Moreover, immigration status, economic conditions, education levels, and access to public health benefits are just a few differences that can adversely impact people’s experiences when seeking mental health care.
Since 2008, July has been designated as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to acknowledge and explore issues concerning mental health within minority communities and to destigmatize mental illness and enhance public awareness of mental illness among affected minority groups across the nation.
Taking on the challenges of mental health takes all of us.
All of society benefits when all people have access to mental health care, supportive social conditions, freedom from stressors that can compromise mental health, and access to other resources needed for health. We all have a role to play in promoting health equity.
Learn more about Minority Mental Health Month:
- Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month — NAMI
- National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month — U.S. Dept. Health and Human Service Office of Minority Health
- BIPOC Mental Health Month — Mental Health America
What is Mental Health Equity?
Mental health equity exists when everyone has a fair and just opportunity to reach their highest level of mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Mental health disparities are defined as unfair differences in access to or quality of mental health care according to race and ethnicity. Disparities can take on many forms, are quite common, and are preventable. They can mean unequal access to good providers, differences in insurance coverage, or discrimination by doctors or nurses.
Mental Health Equity Statistics
- 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
- 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
- 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6–17 experience a mental health disorder each year
- 50 percent of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75 percent by age 24
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10–34