Each year during the month of February, we recognize and celebrate Black History Month. This is an important time to acknowledge the role African Americans have played in the United States throughout history (and present) and to recognize and celebrate their achievements.
Historical adversity such as slavery and exclusion from basic rights like healthcare, education, and other resources – translates into socio-economic disparities experienced by African Americans today.
As we all know, mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race or background, however, background and identity can make access to mental health treatment much more difficult. Ongoing stigma and lack of access to health care are barriers for anyone with a mental health condition, but experts argue there is a particular disparity when it comes to minorities, especially African Americans, which can contribute to individuals not receiving proper support or treatment to feel better.
Mental illness affects 1 in 4 Americans. However, African American adults are 20% more likely to experience mental health issues than the rest of the population.
Black History Month is a celebration of all African Americans, however, every month of the year we should be working to break down barriers for all minorities. African Americans should have proper access to mental health and substance abuse resources and care – regardless of socioeconomic status. It starts with us – from the bottom up – by building awareness of the disparities within the black community and by doing our part to advocate for equal rights and creating real change within ourselves and in our communities.
Read more at PlymouthPsychGroup.com.