July is an important month each year, bringing awareness to the lack of access and quality for mental health among minorities, which unfortunately remains a large problem for a variety of reasons. This awareness month attempts to inform not only the general public, but also the entire mental health field. It’s everybody’s responsibility to make mental health equality a priority. At Rock Prairie Behavioral Health, we are a mental health facility who stands behind this month’s commendable goals and we also stand behind all our minority communities in the College Station, TX area. An important piece in solving mental health inequality is awareness, and we are proud to do our part.
The Disparity in Mental Health
Today, most people who are afflicted by a mental health problems such as depression do not seek out professional help. It’s even more unfortunate that minority groups seek out help even less. The largest matter in question is access to proper facilities. Astonishingly, in minority communities, there are considerably less mental health centers or none at all. To make matters even worse, research indicates that minority populations experience higher instances of depression, suicide, and other mental health problems. Why is this? Poverty plays a large role, and minorities experience a disproportionate amount of poverty. Consequently, the minority communities, which are shown to have more mental health issues, cannot even receive the help they need.
The Stigma of Mental Health
A general stigma exists in mental health, discouraging all groups of people from seeking help or even discussing such issues. This stigma is more pronounced among minority groups, which is perpetuated in part by our media. Advertisements and commercials, such as government public awareness campaigns and pharmaceutical companies, too often under represent the minority population. Minorities watching such media can feel as if they don’t have mental health issues or don’t need help, which essentially normalizes mental health problems among minority populations. If minorities never see themselves as someone suffering from a real health problem, they are much less likely to seek the help they need or even talk about those problems. If the media’s treatment of mental health continues to exclude minorities, this stigma will persist.
Can we Find a Solution?
Awareness is a constructive first step, but it is not the only answer. Mental health equity requires not only awareness, but action. Mental health centers, psychologists, psychiatric hospitals, behavioral health centers and other facilities need to change the way mental health deals with minorities. They need to be understanding of the stigma behind mental health, notably for minorities. Additionally, facilities need to establish a presence in these communities. It’s also the responsibility of the media to more accurately depict mental health in the United States as something that is important in every community, even more so among minorities. In the end, to truly achieve mental health equity, it’s every individual’s responsibility. Speak out against inequality. Become an advocate for change and equality for you and for every community. It can be as easy as simply starting the conversation. Here at Rock Prairie Behavioral Health, we are happy to assist our entire community, and we are trained to give equal care to all patients. Don’t hesitate to contact us at Rock Prairie Behavioral Health if you have any questions or concerns for you or someone you know. Our multidisciplinary staff is trained and more than capable to help everyone, including minorities right here in the College Station, TX area. We want our community to be mentally healthy and will do our part to ensure mental health equity. Please give us a call at (979) 703-8848 to set up a free confidential assessment.