July is National Minority Mental Awareness Month. This celebration helps raise awareness about mental health in diverse communities to improve mental health education, treatment, access and research.

The U.S. Surgeon General reports that mental illness is more common than cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. However, the stigma that comes with mental illness in our society, and the lack of education and awareness, has led to underutilization of treatment and services. Despite the abundance of resources, racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. still have less access to and less availability of mental health services. Furthermore, minorities are less likely to seek help, less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for their mental illness, and often receive a poorer quality of mental health care. The following statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, highlight several of these disparities:

  • Older Asian American women have the highest suicide rate of all women over age 65 in the U.S.
  • Hispanics receive mental health treatment two times less often than Caucasians
  • For American Indian/Alaska Natives, violent deaths – unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide – account for 75% of all mortality in the second decade of life
  • African Americans are 20% more likely to report having serious psychological distress than Caucasians

Help make a difference!

Help us take action to raise awareness about National Minority Mental Health Month by learning more about behavioral and mental health, through organizations like Adventist Behavioral Health and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.  Adventist Behavioral Health offers free health consultations and mental health services to the community at their Rockville and Cambridge, Maryland campuses.

Get involved in the discussion!

This fall, The Center on Health Disparities at Adventist HealthCare is pleased to host our seventh annual conference, “Partnering Toward a Healthier Future: Addressing Disparities in Behavioral Health” on Tuesday, December 3, 2013 from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at The Marriot Inn and Conference Center in Hyattsville, Maryland.

We are pleased to announce our distinguished keynote speaker this year will be Dr. David Satcher, Former U.S. Surgeon General and Director of The Satcher Health Leadership Institute.

Sign up for our e-newsletter for updates on this year’s conference by emailing Nancy Flores. Check back at our website  for registration details coming next month!