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Recognizing and Addressing Potential Barriers to Behavioral Healthcare for Minorities

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Recognizing and Addressing Potential Barriers to Behavioral Healthcare for Minorities

Each July, we recognize National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), this observance “raises awareness of the challenges that affect the mental health of racial and ethnic minority groups.”

“Mental health issues are common – more than 1 in 5 U.S. adults live with a mental illness,” according to the CDC. “Mental health issues are treatable and often preventable, but not everyone has access to the resources they need. People in some racial and ethnic minority groups face more challenges than others getting mental health care.”

What are Some of the Barriers That May Prohibit Minorities From Receiving Care?

Mental Health America cites that one reason members of minorities may be reluctant to seek out mental healthcare is stigma around the topic of mental health in their communities. On their informative website, they list out potential stigma that minority groups might face and how conversations can start to help destigmatize needing mental health care.

Per the CDC, another barrier can often be a lack of resources and providers that those in need of help can feel safe with and relate to.

“Many people from racial and ethnic minority groups have difficulty getting mental health care,” according to the CDC. “This can be due to many different reasons, such as cost or not having adequate health insurance coverage. It may also be challenging to find providers from one’s racial or ethnic group.”

The American Psychiatric Association notes that another barrier can be lack of awareness of mental health and healthcare options. This helpful resource they provide addresses specific issues in a variety of minority communities.

To address this multi-layered issue and encourage those in minority groups to consider reaching out for mental health care, the CDC has multiple suggestions. These include: encouraging those from different communities to learn about mental health; make ongoing efforts to avoid implicit bias, microaggressions and other forms of discrimination; make sure that mental health information and resources are inclusive of a variety of perspectives; and encourage people from marginalized communities to work in the mental health field.

At Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS), each of our healthcare centers offers behavioral care services to people of all ages, faiths and backgrounds. Behavioral care services include psychiatric care, medication services, individual and group therapy, play therapy and substance abuse treatment. All of JFCS’ healthcare centers also accept AHCCCS, making treatment accessible to those who may need it most.

Learn more about our behavioral healthcare services here.