NPFY Recognizes National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month – an opportunity to recognize the unique struggles that racial and ethnic minority communities face regarding mental illness in the United States. As an organization serving 94% BIPOC youth, it is essential the New Pathways for Youth community keeps in mind the compounding effects of mental health for minority populations.

Here are some key statistics on Minority Mental Health from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

  • In 2021, it is estimated that only 39 percent of Black or African American adults, 25 percent of Asian adults, and 36 percent of Hispanic/Latino adults with any mental illness were treated, compared to 52 percent of non-Hispanic white adults.
  • One study suggests that Hispanic men who identify as LGBTQI+ experience higher rates of body image disorders than Hispanic women, Black and African American men and women, and white men and women who identify as LGBTQI+.
  • According to the Veterans Health Administration Department of Veterans Affairs, American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans report experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at double the rate of non-Hispanic white Veterans – 20.5 percent compared to 11.6 percent.
  • In 2020, suicide was the leading cause of death among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders aged 10 to 19; it was the second leading cause of death among those aged 20 to 34.

There are several key factors that lead to mental health disparities, such as cultural stigma, lack of awarness and lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate options for care.

SAMHSA reports “service cost or lack of insurance coverage was the most frequently cited reason for not using mental health services across all racial/ethnic groups.” Additionally HHS cites “persistent systemic social inequities and discrimination” which compound mental health concerns.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, 40.3% of Hispanics experienced current depression, and 36.9% had an increase or initiation of substance use, compared to 25.3% depression and 14.3% substance use in White adults.

You can help spread awareness by posting on social media (here are some sample posts) and talking to your friends, family or mentor/mentee about minority mental health.

Learn more from these resources from HHS: