July 1st is meant for celebration
Our victory for claiming Canada as an official country
We all gather as families, friends and communities to give time and praise to this dedicated date
July is an official time as summer among many events we should also be aware of
Our brothers and sisters, as much as there is time for fun festivities,
We must also be aware of the issues some may face in our own circles and community.
In July we support Minority Mental Health Month.
Mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender or identity. Anyone can experience the challenges of mental illness regardless of their background. However, background and identity can make access to mental health treatment much more difficult
*July has been declared minority Mental Health Month since 2008
Everyone has stress and difficult emotions on occasion, and this is completely normal. Mental illness, however, is any condition that makes it difficult to function in daily life. It can affect relationships or job performance, and is caused by any number of complex interactions within the human brain. Mental illness can range from anxiety or mood disorders like depression, psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, eating disorders, or addictive behaviors. Minority communities are disproportionately affected and experience different levels of care compared to heterosexual/cisgender/white populations. Discrimination and implicit bias from healthcare providers is associated with higher rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide in patients of color.
Time for reflection!
Here are six facts about Black Mental Health and Mental Health in the minority populations (in general):
Black Americans are as likely to suffer from mental illness as whites. The APA reports 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. will suffer from some kind of mental disorder each year. And, African-Americans are at least as likely to suffer from a mental health issue as their white counterparts.
Relatively high rates of poverty increase likelihood for mental health issues. Poverty disproportionately affects the black community, due in part to the legacy of slavery, segregation and racial discrimination in America. Poverty also affects mental health. Poverty increases the risk for mental health issues, which may then render an individual unable to work and afford basic needs, including treatment.
Racism in care still exists. This is compounded by the fact that African-Americans make up less than 2% of APA members.
Barriers in access to adequate health care make it harder to get help. Anticipation of encountering racism coupled with the challenges of paying for care may make the prospect of getting help daunting for black Americans. Racial disparities persist in health care access.
Black Americans use prayer to cope with stress or mental illness. One study cited by the APA said that 85% of African-Americans would describe themselves as “religious,” and that their most common way to handle stress is through prayer. For people without adequate access to adequate medical care, prayer may be a primary method of dealing with mental illness as well.
Because of these statistics, stigma in the community may discourage people from seeking treatment. First lady Michelle Obama addressed the need to reduce the stigma of getting professional help when needed. “There should be absolutely no stigma around mental health. None. Zero. … Getting support and treatment isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.”