News & Announcements
Raising Awareness about Mental Health in the Asian American & Pacific Islander Community
Posted: May 17, 2013
The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the White House Office of Public Engagement hosted a briefing today on mental health issues and suicide prevention for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. As May is both AAPI Heritage Month and National Mental Health Awareness Month, it was a timely occasion to bring these issues to the forefront. The event convened government officials, community leaders, students and health care advocates for a discussion about the Obama Administration’s efforts to prevent suicide and address mental health issues within the AAPI community.
Mental health concerns are not prominently or routinely addressed in AAPI communities, however, these issues are primary contributors to overall health and well-being. National studies show that the prevalence rates for mental health conditions are generally the same or slightly less for AAPIs compared to the general population. However, the burden of mental health conditions for AAPI families and communities is often greater due to limited access and engagement in mental health services, lower rates of treatment and poorer quality care leading to worse outcomes. AAPI families are often reluctant to seek care due to the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health conditions, difficulties in finding appropriate services and lack of understanding of both the mental health condition and the complex service system. Higher rates of uninsurance also impede attempts to access mental health treatment.
Read more on WhiteHouse.gov. Read the report Suicidal Thoughts among Asians, Native Hawaiians, or Other Pacific Islanders (pdf).
Recording Available: Planning and Preparing for National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
Posted: May 16, 2013
This webinar was held on May 15, 2013. The webinar provides customizable resources and concrete examples of activities from previous years and equips you with tools and suggestions for a successful endeavor. Presenters encouraged participants to share their ideas and events on the facebook page: www.facebook.com/minoritymentalhealth
“Talk. They Hear You” Campaign Encourages Parents to Talk with Children about Alcohol Early
Posted: May 15, 2013
Parents should start talking with their children about the dangers of drinking as early as age 9, according to a new government campaign. Children start to think more positively about alcohol between ages 9 and 13, research shows. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which launched the campaign, says about 10 percent of 12-year-olds have tried alcohol, and half of 15-year-olds have done so. Many teens listen to their parents’ advice on drinking. In one study, 80 percent of teens said their parents were the largest influence on their decision whether or not to drink, NPR reports.
The “Talk. They Hear You” campaign includes a toolkit with templates for a parent-child pledge, and scripts for talking with children about sensitive subjects, such as why it’s permissible for parents to drink. Parents are provided with suggested texts they can send, such as, “Have fun tonight. Remember, alcohol can lead you 2 say things and do things u wish u hadn’t.” The campaign gives parents advice on topics including never serving alcohol to teens at home, and telling teens they shouldn’t drink at parties or get in a car with a driver who has been drinking.
“These young people are our future leaders—our future teachers, mayors, doctors, parents, and entertainers,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a news release. “As our youth and young adults face challenges, we as a community, need to effectively communicate with them in every way possible about the risks of underage drinking so that they have the necessary tools to make healthy and informed choices.”
AHRQ Releases Latest National Healthcare Quality and National Healthcare Disparities Reports
Posted: May 14, 2013
Each year since 2003, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has reported on progress and opportunities for improving health care quality and reducing health care disparities. As mandated by the U.S. Congress, the National Healthcare Quality Report (NHQR) focuses on “national trends in the quality of health care provided to the American people”. The National Healthcare Disparities Report (NHDR) focuses on “prevailing disparities in health care delivery as it relates to racial factors and socioeconomic factors in priority populations”
Three themes from the 2012 NHQR and NHDR emphasize the need to accelerate progress if the Nation is to achieve higher quality and more equitable health care in the near future:
Health Care Quality and Access Are Suboptimal, Especially for Minority and Low-Income Groups
Disparities in quality of care are common:
Disparities in access are also common, especially among AI/ANs, Hispanics, and poor people:
Overall Quality Is Improving, Access Is Getting Worse, and Disparities Are Not Improving
Problems with quality of care are decreasing while problems with access to care are increasing:
Quality is improving slowly for all groups:
Access is getting worse for most groups:
Few disparities in quality of care are improving (getting smaller):
Almost no disparities in access to care are improving (getting smaller):
During Mental Health Awareness Month, Experts Weigh in on How Stigma Hurts the Black Community
Posted: May 13, 2013
According to experts the unwillingness of black Americans to openly acknowledge and discuss mental-health issues is having a toxic impact on the entire community. But conversations with experts in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month (May) raise an even more startling possibility: that racial disparities in mental-health treatment have a direct impact on financial and educational disparities between racial groups, too. "We treat it as a badge of shame," said Terrie Williams, an African-American mental-health advocate, while white Americans "treat it as a badge of honor."
With black Americans leading the country with troubling statistics in areas like unemployment, child abuse and neglect, and domestic violence, all of which can exacerbate stress, it is perhaps not surprising that the community leads the country in mental-health struggles. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, African Americans are still "more likely to experience a mental disorder than their white counterparts" but "less likely to seek treatment," though Psychology Today recently noted that there has been an increase in the number of black Americans seeking treatment for ailments such as depression over the last decade. Men are less likely to seek treatment than women, regardless of race, meaning black men are among the least likely to seek treatment overall.
One of the main reasons African Americans are less likely to seek treatment for mental-health woes is the same reason black Americans are less likely to seek treatment for other health problems: economics. More than 20 percent of black Americans are uninsured. According to the American Psychiatric Association, "For those with insurance, coverage for mental-health services and substance-use disorders is substantially lower than coverage for other medical illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes." But besides cost, one of the greatest barriers keeping black Americans from seeking treatment for mental illness may be history.
Read more on TheRoot.com.