Introducing Minority Mental Health Awareness Month #MMHAM
Written by: Arielle Karoub
This July, we are focusing our content on ‘Minority Identities and Mental Health’, a blog series honoring #MMHAM that discusses the mental health risks, issues, and resources specifically affecting minority populations and identities.
July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. It was formally recognized in 2008 when Bebe Moore Campbell brought awareness to the unique struggle and underrepresentation of minorities regarding mental illness. We want to take the time to bring awareness to the many disparities in health care for minorities in the Unities States and ways we can join together to make necessary changes for #MentalHealthForAll.
It’s time that we destigmatize mental illness and enhance public awareness of the challenges that many minorities face when accessing mental health support. U.S. Studies show that racial minority groups show higher levels of mental illness including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health disorders. Deep-rooted prejudice towards minority groups may be a cause of this. Many minorities may feel rejected, estranged, and harassed; making it more challenging for them to seek out help.
Minorities face a variety of challenges including receiving access to public health benefits. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, 10.5% (3 million) young adults age 18-25 had serious thoughts of suicide including 8.3% of non-Hispanic blacks, 9.2% of Hispanics, and 7.6% of non-Hispanic Asians. Mental illness affects one in four American families and people in diverse communities are no exception.
A lack of access to healthcare within minority populations doesn’t just impact mental health. Even during the pandemic, there has been a disproportionate number of minority communities receiving access to general health care services. This devastation may be caused by a lack of health advocacy and education for minority groups as a whole. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 states show African Americans, who make up less than 13% of the U.S. population, comprised 30% of COVID-19 patients whose race was known. The John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center shows that out of 29 states, African Americans were account for close to 34% of deaths in those states. These numbers also don’t take into account police violence and other systemic forms of racism in the U.S.
Racial equity is about applying justice to our system that has been out of balance since day one. When a system is out of balance, people of color feel the impacts the most, but an imbalanced system makes all of us pay. Everyone will benefit from a more just and equitable system, which is why we want to help break down obstacles for both physical and mental health care within minority populations.
In addition to raising awareness on minority mental health, we want to do our part to raise awareness specifically about the barriers to treatment in minority communities. We want to improve access to mental health treatment and services and promote public awareness of mental illness in general. Lastly, we want to enhance public awareness of mental illness among minorities. Join us this month in learning, advocating for, and talking about minority mental health. #MMHAM