Why are black and Hispanic young adults receiving about 50 percent of the mental health treatment resources that their white counterparts have? A recent study from the International Journal of Health Services completed research across all fifty states to reveal many facts about minority mental health problems.
For example, young adult Latinos and blacks are making fifty-eight and forty-seven percent less visits respectively to any mental health specialist when compared to white young adults. This is despite the fact that mental health problems between the black, latinos, and white communities are almost statistically equal. So why the discrepancy? One out of many explanations which researchers tout as a reason for the difference involves the stigma surrounding mental illness.
“Because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, many cultures don’t want to admit they have mental health issues or that it’s in their family, for fear of being ostracized by their community,” says David Bain, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Sacramento. “Typically, they keep the issue a secret and do their best to deal with the situation alone without help or information from outside the family unit.”
Hispanic parents have reported fewer mental health problems regarding their children, but the study reveals that families are underusing mental health treatment options. There are many reasons why they would abstain from mental health treatments, but as previously stated, Hispanic youths suffer as much mental health problem as white youths but are being disproportionately affected by it.
Another fact to consider is that very often white students receive counseling and therapy for behavioral issues while black students get excessive punishment instead such as suspension. The reason for this could range from institutional racism to cultural differences or the social economic status of the school. However, the facts remain, black students are suffering from the same mental health problems as whites but do not get the same luxury of treatment.
For more information about how you can deal with mental health illness, you can visit NAMI Sacramento. For the study, click here.