Helping Leaders Develop Awareness and Empathy

Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is an opportunity for leaders everywhere to gain a deeper understanding of the unique challenges facing some of our country’s minority groups.

The American Psychological Association has outlined the underlying mechanisms responsible for the mental health disparities among our country’s minority groups, with many of them beginning in childhood. Here’s a quick summary:

Adverse childhood experiences, commonly known as “ACEs” refer to stressful or traumatic events that have a lasting impact on an individual’s mental and physical development. Examples include maltreatment, having an incarcerated parent, or living with violence and instability.

Neighborhood-level stressors can reduce an individual’s self-efficacy and negatively impact their ability to recover from trauma. Examples include segregation and a lack of neighborhood safety, support, resources, and social norms.

Low socioeconomic status often makes life more stressful, and people who grow up in poverty are less likely to receive the support they need for overcoming their challenges. Here’s a look at different minority groups and the percentages of children living in poverty:

  • 39% African American
  • 36% American Indian
  • 32% Latino
  • 14% Asian
  • 14% white

Family structure. Studies show that childhood adversities are more likely to occur in single-parent households than in two-parent households. There’s also a strong association between being a single parent and the risk for depression.

Implicit biases can manifest in minority groups as being perceived as less intelligent, more likely to abuse drugs, more violent, and non-compliant. These biases can negatively impact decisions and how people are treated.

As a leader, it’s helpful to understand how these broader issues impact people from various minority groups. For greater insight into understanding and managing stress, check out our Stress Guide.

It’s also helpful to remind people about their Assistance Program and how it provides free and confidential mental health support, plus resources and services for managing life’s many other challenges.

To learn more, please reach out to your Account Manager, who can provide support or help you access training and organizational development services.

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Helping Leaders Develop Awareness and Empathy – Insights Newsletter