1 in 5 adults in the United States are affected by a mental health condition. This statistic does not discriminate. Mental illness affects all races, genders, and sexual orientations.
Unfortunately, an individual’s race, ethnicity, and culture can negatively influence their mental health treatment and make it much more difficult to reach a successful point of recovery. Many barriers that marginalized communities may face include: language barriers, extra stigma and shame, racism in treatment settings, lower quality of treatment, and lower healthcare coverage.
Additionally, finding a mental health care treatment program that fits your personal cultural background can present many obstacles. Cultural competence is the behaviors, attitudes and skills that allow a health care provider to work effectively with different cultural groups. Finding culturally competent providers is important because they understand the essential role that culture plays in life and health. A culturally competent provider includes cultural beliefs, values, practices and attitudes in your care to meet your unique needs. Click here for further tips on find a mental health care that fits your cultural background.
As we know, the mental health system is already extremely difficult to navigate during trying times. These barriers make it that much more difficult. Therefore, it’s important that we raise our voices and concerns about these disparities.
Starting the conversation about minority mental health might be intimidating for several reasons: you might not know that much information about other cultures, you might not identify yourself as part of a minority community and you definitely don’t want to offend anyone. These reasons are exactly why Minority Mental Health Month is the perfect opportunity to engage and help more individuals. This awareness month is utilized to show that we are collectively working to make our communities more inclusive because mental illness truly does affect everyone.
So during the month of July, we are challenging you to create this conversation within your own community. There are so many ways to initiate this movement, such as:
- Call a friend
- Meet with an elected official
- Share your personal story
- ·Host a symposium/forum
- Post on social media
… the list goes on and on! Whatever you may do during this year’s Minority Mental Health Month, please know that your efforts will help us in spreading the word and make a huge difference in many lives.
For more information, feel free to call the NAMI Wisconsin office at (608) 268-6000 or utilize the resources provided below.