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Lack of access and stigma are two of the biggest barriers to receiving behavioral health support. While many struggle with these challenges in seeking treatment, Black, Latino, Asian and other minority communities face them at much higher rates – and often at greater cost.

21% of Black Americans reported having a mental illness in 2021. This population makes up more than ten million people. Black and African Americans also reported increases in rates of major depressive episodes and suicidal thoughts. An analysis by the National Center for Health Statistics in partnership with the Census Bureau from December 1, 2021 to February 7, 2022 indicates 27% of Black Americans are struggling with anxiety or depression during the pandemic.

Approximately 36% of Hispanic or Latino adults with mental illness receive treatment each year – 16% lower than the U.S. average. In February 2022, 29% of Hispanic or Latinos nationwide reported experiencing frequent symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder. Language barriers, legal status and lack of cultural competence are just some of the unique barriers facing these communities.

Asian-American teens face increasing rates of anxiety and depression. Following the onset of COVID-19, depression among Asian-Americans surged by 104%, while anxiety disorder diagnoses saw a 97% increase, marking the largest rise among ethnic and racial groups. Moreover, Asian-American adults grappling with mental health issues are notably less inclined to seek treatment, with 73.1% going untreated, in contrast to 56.7% of the general population.

Unfortunately, limited access to behavioral health treatment and concerns about stigma prevent many minorities from seeking help. Additional language and cultural barriers add challenges to receiving treatment. It is important for friends, family, caregivers and health care providers develop awareness of health equity among diverse groups so we as a society can help break down barriers to care.

 Here are just a few resources to help facilitate a conversation about behavioral health treatment:

If you or someone you care about is in need of behavioral health treatment, please contact Oceans Behavioral Hospital today.

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