Why is mental health more stigmatized in minority communities?

Noel Duan of Headspace.com wrote an informative article regarding the stigma that many in minority communities feel about having mental health disorders, and most importantly, that it keeps them from getting help.  Today, when celebrities are talking openly about their mental health challenges, the topic seems to be coming out of the closet, but there is a lot more to be done.

Duan writes:   “There is no singular explanation for why and how mental health is stigmatized in American communities of color. For example, Asian-Americans report pressure to live up to a “model minority” stereotype—a unique barrier when seeking mental health treatment; some Asian-Americans report feeling incorrectly viewed as fully integrated into mainstream American culture. A 2001 Surgeon’s report found that only 20 percent of Latin Americans with mental illnesses spoke with their doctors about it. A study published in 2008 found that only one-quarter of African-Americans seek mental health treatment, compared to 40 percent of non-minorities.”

Clearly there is work to be done to encourage all individuals to seek the help that they need and deserve. Obtaining appropriate, professional mental health treatment should be as acceptable as seeing your primary care provider when you have the flu.  Illness doesn’t discriminate among race, gender, socioeconomic or other facets of society.  Neither should we.

Read Duan’s entire article here.