Mental Health in Minority Group Communities
By Alix Greenblattt
Alix Greenblatt is currently working for the CDC Foundation/New York State Department of Health as a facility surveyor in long-term care. She is also working on finishing her MPH
program at the University at Albany with a certificate in Global Health. Her goals are to one day work toward improving health rights for women and to work toward ending the stigma behind mental illness. She enjoys baking and music.
Amongst many of the important topics throughout the month of July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness. Each July, this topic is observed to bring awareness to the struggle that racial and ethnic minority communities face within the United States. People from these communities often suffer from lower/poor mental health due to high rates of inaccessibility to high quality mental health services, cultural stigmas that surround the topic of mental health, discrimination, and a lack of awareness.
According to the Mental Health in America Report (2023), 21% of adults in the United States are experiencing mental health disorders or illness- equivalent to 50 million Americans. Around 55% of adults with a mental illness receive no treatment- equivalating to 28 million people. Over 5.5 million adults (11%) with a mental illness are uninsured and 28% of adults with a mental illness reported that they are not able to receive the treatments they need. The report will be provided below.
People from minority group communities are more likely to experience discrimination in the healthcare community, with a high possibility of not being able to receive health insurance. Around ⅓ or 33% of the United States population are without some form of health insurance. As of 2021, uninsured groups in the United States ranged from 5.7% (White), 10.9% (Black) 18.8% (non-Hispanic identifying as American Indian/Alaska Native), and 17.7% (Hispanic or Latino). Without health insurance, the access to mental health services (i.e., psychiatry, mental health therapy, rehabilitation centers) tremendously decreases.
Issues Attaining Mental Health Care
As with most healthcare services, mental health services can become unaffordable without some form of co-pay. As of 2022, the cost of a psychiatric visit without insurance can range from $150-200. The evaluation ranges even higher, possibly being $300-$500. The cost of mental health therapy can average from $65-$200 per session. Aside from these services, centers for rehabilitation and behavioral centers (especially for children/adolescents/teens) are rarely covered by health insurances or school systems- if applicable.These facilities can cost a person thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars annually, biannually, or even just monthly.
While these concerns do not reach those of a higher economic status, the reality is that many people do have this concern and there is little action being taken. As of this year, the current U.S. administration has stated they would take action to tackle the nation's Mental Health Crisis. Some actions include funding $200 million to scale up around 988 suicide/crisis lifelines and provide new resources for school-based mental health services. The administration has made a plan to increase the size and diversity of the behavioral health workforce, expand access to peer support, enhance the crisis response, and to make it easier to seek help.