Mental health care is essential for providing comprehensive and holistic health care to individuals, families, and communities. Unfortunately, it has a history of discrimination and unfairness. Communities of color have faced significant challenges. Therefore, we must take action to create quality and equitable care for everyone.
There are many obstacles and barriers to mental health care for minority groups in the United States. These minority groups can include but are not limited to, racial or ethnic minority groups, sexual minorities, and gender minorities. The prevalence of mental health issues is as likely to be found in minority groups as in the majority group. However, statistically, minorities are less likely to receive proper treatment for mental health diagnoses.
Multiple factors can impact access to quality mental health care, such as minority-identified providers, lack of transportation, lack of technology, lack of insurance, and the mental health stigma. We must keep working towards making mental health care available to everyone and advocate for its significance.
We need to gain a better understanding of the barriers that minority groups face. To do this, we must become more familiar with their cultural and ethnic dynamics. This is an essential starting point.
Intersectionality is the idea that social categories such as race, class, and gender are connected. This can result in overlapping forms of discrimination or disadvantage (Oxford Dictionary, 2023). The awareness of this concept gives us a chance to analyze the mental health of minority and marginalized groups. We can break down their experiences to gain a better understanding.
The Role of Mental Health Providers in Minority Wellness
Mental health providers must have a thorough knowledge of intersectional equality. This understanding should be applied in their therapeutic practices. It can be beneficial to find a mental health provider who uses an intersectional lens in therapy. This can help to explore the various aspects and factors that influence a patient’s mental health.
The following are organizations that prioritize education and offer inclusive mental health services:
- Inclusive Therapists is an organization that offers mental health services. These services prioritize intersectionality and cultural inclusivity. They also provide educational tools and resources (Inclusive Therapists).
- Mental Health America (MHA) is a nonprofit organization. They work to educate, advocate, and research equitable accessibility and services. These services are for individuals, families, and groups of all ages.
Another barrier to mental health services for minorities and marginalized groups can be the mental health stigma. The mental health stigma can make people feel ashamed of their diagnosis. This can prevent them from seeking the help they need. Individuals may have environmental and cultural factors that can also influence their willingness to seek mental health services.
Ways to Reduce the Minority Mental Health Stigma:
- Education is a powerful tool when it comes to reducing mental health stigma. Take time to understand mental illness. Learn the facts about its impact on relationships, routines, school, and work. A diagnosis or symptoms can cause disruptions in these areas.
- Normalizing treatment by treating mental healthcare as a part of health care. Treating the whole body is just as important as treating parts of the body, including the mind.
- Being conscious and mindful of the language used when speaking about mental health. Utilizing affirmative and supportive language can help create compassion and empathy for those impacted by mental health conditions.
- Building a support system, surrounding yourself with those who you can trust, and supporting you through mental health struggles.
- Continuing community awareness of people with mental health issues by joining organizations and campaigns that help fight mental health stigma. The following are just a few of the organizations that offer support and awareness throughout the United States:
It is essential to promote awareness and education about mental health and mental health among minority and marginalized communities. Mental health providers can help in improving minority mental health resources by providing culturally sensitive care and increased cultural/ethnic competency.
Communities can support mental health care. They can do this by advocating for policy changes that prioritize mental health services. This includes services within schools, work, and community centers.
We strive to create positive change and greater awareness of inequalities in the mental health system. This will open the door to quality mental health care for those in marginalized minority communities.
Written by: Janel Wenger, AMFT
At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff specializing in therapy and psychiatry services. To learn more about how we can support your mental health, call Clarity Clinic at (312) 815-9660 or schedule an appointment today.