April 2019 TOM

To improve minority mental health, research must put patients first

“One of our greatest challenges is in helping patients in minority communities live with serious mental illness. One in six U.S. adults has an illness like depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorder, but African Americans are 10 percent more likely, and Latinos 40 percent more likely, to experience serious psychological distress than non-Hispanic whites. And those minority populations are only half as likely to receive needed treatment or counseling as non-Hispanic whites. Statistics are even worse for American Indians and Alaska Natives… So how do we make a dent in these discouraging statistics? It will require a multi-pronged approach.” Click the title to access the full article from The Hill.

Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity

The Office of the Surgeon General, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institute of Mental Health, and SAMHSA have compiled a supplemental report to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Check out some of our favorite quotes below, or click the title to access the whole report.

How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease: An Interview with Jonathan Metzl

“Before the 60s, Ionia doctors viewed schizophrenia as an illness that afflicted nonviolent, white, petty criminals, including the hospital's considerable population of women from rural Michigan… By the mid- to late-1960s, however, schizophrenia was a diagnosis disproportionately applied to the hospital's growing population of African American men from urban Detroit. Perhaps the most shocking evidence I uncovered was that hospital charts "diagnosed" these men in part because of their symptoms, but also because of their connections to the civil rights movement.” Click the title for the entire article by Psychology Today.

Infographic: Minority Mental Health

Click the title to check out this infographic on minority mental health by Mental Health America. It breaks down the U.S. population by race/ethnicity, the prevalence of mental health and substance use issues among minorities, barriers to getting help (hint: stigma), and some interesting trends in mental health screening.

Mental Health Disparities: Diverse Populations

The American Psychiatric Association has compiled 9 factsheets around mental health in diverse populations, which “provide a snapshot of the current state of mental health of minority populations and some factors that may contribute to mental health disparities among these groups.”

Talking about depression can be hard for Asian Americans, but services can help

This piece explores suicide and depression in the Asian American population, identifying suicide “as the ninth leading cause of death among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the 10th leading cause of all deaths in the U.S.”

Exploring The Link Between Racism, Trauma and Mental Health

Shardé Smith studies the role of race-related stress and trauma in families and the strategies that people use to cope. In this interview with Illinois Public Media, she discusses how cultural norms and stigma associated with having a mental illness influence outcomes for African-Americans.