July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Research done by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that despite advances in health equity, minority groups in the U.S. still have less access to mental health services and receive lower-quality care. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five adults suffer from a mental health condition. People of color are more likely to be at risk of experiencing a mental health condition because of the barriers to mental health support minorities face.
The root of the problem is that half of the people uninsured in the United States are people of color. Uninsured people have less access to mental health care and resources. The limited resources cause logistical difficulties including taking time off work, arranging childcare, and securing transportation to and from appointments. Another issue minorities face in mental health care is the lack of diversity in mental health care providers. There is often a lack of understanding of the issues minorities and people of color face. The lack of diversity can also lead to linguistic and cultural barriers.
Minority Mental Health Awareness month started in 2008 and is observed every July. In recent years, many organizations and people prefer to remove the word “minority” and refer to the month as BIPOC Mental Health Awareness month, which stands for Black, Indigenous People, and People of Color. The month is recognized by organizations such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health and Mental Health America. These organizations use the month to bring extra awareness to the issues that minorities face in health care and provide educational resources.