Minority Mental Health — AFSP

Just as with physical health, disparities exist for minority populations for mental health as well. Such disparities can create greater risk for suffering and mental health problems, and can make access to mental health care more difficult. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention takes this issue seriously: everyone deserves treatment for any mental health challenge they are experiencing, and successful treatment doesn’t look the same for everyone.

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AFSP chapter board members Dionne Monsanto and Dimple Patel discuss the importance of Minority Mental Health Month.

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AFSP North Carolina Chapter Volunteer Camila Pulgar talks about stigma in the Latinx community.

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AFSP Southeast Texas Chapter Volunteer Wykisha McKinney talks about suicide in the African American community.

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AFSP Illinois Chapter Volunteer Dimple Patel discusses the stigma and shame of suicide in the South Asian culture.

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AFSP Alaska Chapter Volunteer Jim Biela talks about bringing suicide prevention education to Alaskan Native schools.

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Elyse is the founder of @SadGirlsClub, and she’s on a mission to connect communities and spread awareness through vulnerability and storytelling.

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Jari’s #RealConvo tip: “Allow yourself to not feel good publicly. It’s okay to not feel good today.”

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Jasmine believes that building communities and being willing to have difficult — but real —conversations is the key to creating change.

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Sydney is an advocate for fellow autistic people as well as artists who struggle with their mental health.

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“I gave birth to a brilliant beautiful girl who took her life at 15 years old. She lived and died with depression.”

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“In the late 80’s, and still today, in the Mexican American community, mental health is often shrouded in silence.”

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“A sense of community can reduce suicidal ideation and attempts in Latina adolescents.”

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“Adding fuel to the fire was the fact that I was only one of a few minorities being raised in a small town.”

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“I think the topic of mental health isn’t spoken about freely in many minority-led homes.”

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“The need for cultural awareness made me interested in research and community activism.”

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“My name is Bree, I am Black and Hispanic and I struggle with depression.”

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“I mentioned I needed to talk to someone about my emotions. The person said, ‘Black people don’t see therapists.'”

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“The current shortage of mental health professionals in the United States is more severe for Latinos and other minorities.”

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“There are no mental health workers in the villages. Insurance for mental health is complicated.”

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Just as with physical health, disparities exist for minority populations for mental health as well. Such disparities can create greater risk for suffering and mental health problems, and can make access to mental health care more difficult. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention takes this issue seriously: everyone deserves treatment for any mental health challenge they are experiencing, and successful treatment doesn’t look the same for everyone.

We know it’s critically important to take a proactive, culturally informed approach to mental health that is led by minority populations, and is mindful of how history, experiences and societal factors have contributed to the health disparities that exist today. We know there’s more to learn about why these disparities occur, and what we can do about it. AFSP is dedicated to supporting these efforts.

AFSP supports research related to preventing suicide in all populations. In addition to encouraging representation of minority populations in all our studies, AFSP has also funded studies specific to minority populations within a variety of diverse communities. As one example, AFSP funded a research study by Dr. Jennifer Humensky, “Life is Precious: Academic-Community Partnership to Reduce Suicidal Behavior in Latina Adolescents.” This work led to additional funding for new sites where the program could be studied, in New York City. It is one example of research that has helped to develop culturally informed treatments that are both evidence-based and are made available to the populations they serve.

Our advocacy efforts at the federal, state, and local levels seek to narrow the gaps in access to health care for all, such as supporting legislation that would enforce mental health parity laws, expand the mental health workforce, and increase access to care in underserved areas. At the same time, our local chapters work to better understand what’s needed in terms of support to prevent suicide and address the impact of suicide, both in terms of suicide loss and lived experience.

We invite organizations and thought leaders with an interest in preventing suicide to join us in our efforts to increase support and care for people everywhere.

july

02jul1:00 pm2:00 pmAFSP Co-Hosts Twitter Chat with Salud America and Stamp Out Stigma

09jul2:00 pm3:00 pmAFSP Participates in Twitter Chat with Mental Health America

23jul3:00 pm4:00 pmAsk Dr. Jill with The Mighty