Disparities in mental health care are greater than in most other areas of healthcare services, especially in communities of color. Mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety, remain one of the highest health burdens for minorities. The social inequalities for risk appear to increase with age, and the social disadvantages of being Latino in the U.S. increase the risk for common mental disorders across a person’s lifespan.
While barriers to alleviate mental disorders exist for everyone, they are even more pronounced for minorities who might have fewer socioeconomic resources.
Despite the need for mental health services, minorities are not seeking medical care. Even when they do seek treatment, they are less likely to receive adequate mental health care and tend to drop out of treatment two to three times more frequently.
Compounding this problem are the physical health disparities that minorities face: They are 1.2 times more likely to be obese and 1.5 times more likely to have diabetes. Moreover, research shows they are more likely to be sedentary, and they are not pursuing changes in their physical activity. Mental illness often occurs with these chronic, physical illnesses, leading to a high degree of impairment and decreased quality of life.
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