When we think of a visit to the doctor or a mental health specialist, a common experience emerges.
In the case of the doctor, questions are asked, knees are tapped, hearts are listened to, and height and weight are measured. With a mental health clinician, questions are asked, questions are answered, and a meaningful conversation ensues.
When discussing public health, we often hear the terms “health equity”, “health equality” and “health inequality”, but what do they really mean?
What are the subtle variances in meaning, and why is it important to understand these differences?
Unfortunately, trauma exists across all cultures and communities, but there are some cultures that inherit the pain of their forebears.
This is particularly true for Alaska Natives/American Indians whose hearts are intertwined across generations and losses of loved ones. That experience, coupled with a vanished way of life, perpetuates a sense of grief and trauma into present day.
Despite advances in health equity, disparities in mental health care persist. Recognizing July as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH) acknowledges this disparity by joining partners at the federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial levels to help raise awareness about mental illness and its effects on racial and ethnic minority populations.
The OMH quotes the following statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration regarding mental health disparities among minority populations.
I know when some people see that July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, they may ask themselves why such a thing is even necessary.
Why talk about minorities specifically? Why can’t we focus on mental health issues generally? The answer is that mental health issues do not discriminate, but societal inputs can make identifying and treating mental health issues in minorities even more difficult than in the population at large.