Prioritizing Minority Mental Health All Year Long

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is celebrated each July to raise awareness about the unique struggles faced by racial and ethnic minority communities in the U.S. regarding mental illness. However, the importance of prioritizing minority mental health extends far beyond a single month. 

Overcoming obstacles

Racial and ethnic minority groups encounter more barriers to accessing mental health and substance-use treatment services due to historical experiences, cultural differences, and social disparities. These obstacles continue to lead to distinct health concerns, trauma, stress, and depression. 

  • Only 31.5% of adults from racial and ethnic minority groups with mental illness received treatment, compared to 48.7% of white adults, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
  • The American Psychological Association (APA) states that only about 1 in 3 African Americans who need mental health care receive it.
  • The National Latino and Asian American Study reported that Asian Americans were less likely to use mental health services than their white counterparts.

Addressing stigma and injustice

The stigma surrounding mental health issues in minority communities can be damaging, preventing individuals from seeking help due to cultural beliefs and fear of discrimination. In the workplace, an environment of understanding, empathy, and inclusivity helps individuals feel safe and supported when discussing their mental health concerns. This is known as “psychological safety.”

Resources for help 

If you or someone you know needs assistance, please explore the following links: 

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Support, education, and advocacy for individuals and families affected by mental illness, including resources tailored to minority communities. 
  • The Steve Fund: Focused on the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color, offering valuable resources and support. 
  • The Trevor Project: Crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ+ youth, recognizing their unique mental health challenges. 
  • Asian American / Pacific Islander Communities and Mental Health: Culturally competent mental health resources and support for the Asian community. 
  • Black Mental Health Alliance: Advocates for Black communities’ mental health and well-being and provides resources and workshops.
  • Mental Health America provides information on BIPOC Mental Health, which includes resources for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. It has also compiled a list of resources for Black History Month, explaining systemic racism and why learning about this history is key to creating a mentally healthier world.   

As we commemorate National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, remember that our commitment to supporting marginalized communities’ mental health must persist throughout the year.  

Your Assistance Program is here to help with resources, counseling, and support. To learn more or to access these services, visit Member Support.