July is Minority Mental Health Awareness month. You might wonder: why the distinction, if mental health doesn’t discriminate across race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation? Consider this: while the number of people experiencing mental illness may be the same across demographic groupings, people's access to care and quality of treatment for mental illness varies greatly. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “the quality of and access to mental health care are suboptimal for minority groups.” NIMH also describes several recent studies showing that “members of racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. are less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to use community mental health services, more likely to use inpatient hospitalization and emergency rooms, and more likely to receive lower quality care.” Cultural and language differences add to the challenge. Mental illness is still not acknowledged in many cultures, resulting in even more stigma around help seeking behaviors. In fact, mental health symptoms might present as physical symptoms so that the underlying causes to problems are missed. Most clinicians in the US provide services in English, which puts certain ethnic groups at a disadvantage. Those who seek help often are connected to counselors who don’t speak their native language, making it even less likely they will follow through with long-term counseling. The [...]
Una gran parte de nuestro país se ha sentido en conflicto con el resultado de las últimas elecciones. Y es comprensible: la negatividad, la culpa, las mentiras, las intrigas y la desinformación (léase: noticias falsas) han plagado estas elecciones desde ambos lados del espectro político. ¿El resultado? Tensión postelectoral. Lo que me duele de estas últimas elecciones no es la política, sino el impacto que han tenido en personas importantes para mí. Mi vecino jubilado está preocupado por la cobertura de la atención médica, mis amigos LGBTQ tienen miedo de convertirse en víctimas de delitos motivados por el odio, y mis compañeros de la universidad están desilusionados porque no saben si podrán contar con el programa de condonación de préstamos estudiantiles. Por otro lado, personas que conozco y quiero temen ser criticadas por haber votado a favor de principios importantes para ellos, como los abortos y la defensa del derecho a la vida, o los impuestos comerciales. Nada me duele más que ver sufrir a los demás. Mis propios pensamientos sobre los resultados electorales se volvieron casi irrelevantes cuando alguien importante para mí me contó el efecto tan negativo que las elecciones habían tenido en ella. Me di cuenta de que el dolor de estas elecciones no tiene que ver tanto conmigo, sino con todas las personas que se sienten discriminadas, ignoradas o atacadas simplemente por [...]
By Jeff Shair, Mental Health Advocate My brother Paul was diagnosed with schizophrenia, like myself. Yet because Paul was 10 years older than me, the illness was viewed quite differently when his symptoms first appeared. That was back in the early 1960’s. In those days, some psychiatrists believed that the disease was caused by the individual having a weak will. For instance, when my parents took me to Paul’s psychiatrist at 9-years-old, a time during which I was struggling emotionally, they asked the doctor in front of me “Will Jeff get sick like Paul?” The doctor replied by saying, “Jeff is too strong to get sick.” Nevertheless, I did develop schizophrenia and was diagnosed with the serious mental illness at the age of 17. At the onset of Paul’s disorder there was no knowledge that schizophrenia was linked to a specific gene and that it could materialize through a heredity component. Furthermore, there was little hope for the person with the mental illness, and recovery was considered to be out of the question. As a child I looked up to Paul. I wanted to be with him as much as possible. When I was 6 years-old, I was very excited when Paul introduced me to sports. He taught me all the ins and outs of baseball, football, and basketball. We [...]
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and as we celebrate recovery, we strive to increase awareness and work to end stigma around mental health. Through the offering of comprehensive services, resources, and access to behavioral healthcare, we have a strong commitment to helping youth, adults, and families in greatest need, especially as the rates of reported mental health challenges continue to rise, especially among our youth. Last week was National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week and now, more than ever, it’s critical that we all take some time to pay attention to the emotional health and well-being of our children.