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Published on July 12, 2019

Minority Mental Health Awareness

The World Health Organization estimates that one in four people throughout the world will be impacted by mental illness at some point in their lives. Mental Health America reports that one in five, or 9 million adults reported experiencing a mental health condition but also reported an unmet mental health need. Despite the progress made surrounding health equity in the U.S., disparities in mental health treatment persist. In 2008, July was designated Minority Mental Health Awareness Month to bring awareness to the struggles racial and ethnic minority populations in the U.S. face when it comes to their mental health issues.

Minority Mental Health Facts

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

  • In 2017, 41.5% of youth ages 12-17 received care for a major depressive episode, but only 35.0% of black youth and 32.7% of Hispanic youth received the treatment for their condition.
  • Asian American adults were less likely to use mental health services than any other racial/ethnic group.
  • In 2017, 13.3% of youth ages 12-17 had at least one depressive episode, but that number was higher among American Indian and Alaska Native youth at 16.3% and among Hispanic youth at 13.8%.
  • In 2017, 18.9% of adults (46.6 million people) had a mental illness. That rate was higher among people of two or more races at 28.6%, non-Hispanic whites at 20.4% and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders at 19.4%.

It is known that racial and ethnic minority groups are less likely to use community mental health services and more likely to use emergency departments. It is important that we work together as a community to build a connectedness; help improve access to mental health treatment; and break down barriers such as negative perceptions about mental illness across all ethnicities.

Mental illness is real and it impacts everyone, regardless of age, race and religion. The good news is that it is treatable, and that hope, help and healing are available. Bryan Medical Center mental health services provides a continuum of care to help all individuals who may be struggling. A free, confidential mental health screening is a great way to determine if you need help or to learn more about your symptoms. Learn more about Bryan Medical Center mental health services here.

dave miers

About Dr. Dave Miers

Dave Miers, PhD, is director of behavioral health services at Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

He helped establish the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition in 1999 and chaired/co-chaired this Coalition until 2017. He currently serves on the Board of Directors. Dr. Miers is a member of the leadership group for the Lincoln/Lancaster County Suicide Prevention Coalition. Dr. Miers has published research and co-authored a chapter in the Routledge International Handbook of Clinical Suicide Research focusing on family survivors of a child suicide. Dr. Miers helped develop the Lincoln Lancaster Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) team in Lincoln, Neb. He also helped develop other LOSS teams in Nebraska and is active with LOSS team development on a national level.


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