July Marks National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
Millions of Americans suffer from mental illness. For racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S., however, barriers to treatment and recovery persist, making the need for mental health support all the more urgent.
The American Psychiatric Association reports “the U.S. population is continuing to become more diverse. By 2044, more than half of all Americans are projected to belong to a minority group (any group other than non-Hispanic White alone).” National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month highlights the unique struggles minorities face to receive adequate mental healthcare in the United States. It is important to recognize these struggles to best serve the communities of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties here at Camino a Casa. Minorities, including but not limited to the African-American, Native American, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander communities, face unique challenges regarding their own mental health and that of their children.
Ventura County is no stranger to this phenomenon. According to the Ventura County Star, the 2020 census shows “the county’s Black population grew by 1.1% to a total of 15,330, Asians by 17.1% to 64,923 and Pacific Islanders by 4.9% to 1,723.” DataUSA states, “The most common foreign languages spoken in Ventura County, CA are Spanish (243,198 speakers), Tagalog (Incl. Filipino) (14,116 speakers), and Chinese (Incl. Mandarin, Cantonese) (7,711 speakers).” This increase in Ventura County’s diversity, as well as across the country, speaks to the growing need of culturally competent mental healthcare for minority groups.
Top Five Challenges Facing Minorities
- Community challenges: many minority communities struggle with accepting mental illness. This harmful stigma can be a result of cultural, historical, or societal influences. For example, some communities believe that discussing mental illness shows weakness or is disgraceful. Because of this, adults are less likely to seek out mental healthcare or arrange for mental healthcare for their children.
- Personal challenges: Some minorities, as a result of their community challenges, may not feel the need to access mental health services and believe treatment may be ineffective.
- Access to Healthcare: minority communities may lack the resources to receive adequate mental healthcare for themselves and their children, including but not limited to: health insurance, transportation, and funding.
- Inadequate Healthcare: Many minority communities lack access to culturally-sensitive healthcare professionals. This can include access to a healthcare professional that speaks a patient’s language and understanding the patient’s culture.
- Negative Experience: A negative experience, such as a healthcare professional dismissing symptoms or denying needed medication, means minorities are less likely to seek out adequate healthcare.
How Camino a Casa Serves the Community
Camino a Casa staff are competent in the communal, cultural, religious, and diverse needs reflected in the community. Staff have a significant understanding of the diverse accessible, culturally appropriate, innovative, and affordable resources that address the needs of both the youth and their family members. Serving a high percentage of Latino families, Camino a Casa utilizes bilingual staff to engage Spanish-speaking families to ensure families are offered services in their preferred language. We approach our clients with a great sense of cultural humility, never assuming we know what’s best for the youth or family. Camino a Casa’s service philosophy of “whatever it takes” – taken from the core principles of the Wraparound model and extended it to all community-based programs—ensures youth and families receive the best care possible.
If you observe signs and symptoms of a mental health struggle in your child or teen, call our admissions team today for a free and confidential screening at (805) 366-4000. Camino a Casa offers mental health services at all levels of care – we’ll work together to find the right option for you.
Varela, B. J. (n.d.). 2020 Census: Ventura County grows more diverse, following national trend. Ventura County Star. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/2021/08/21/2020-census-ventura-county-grows-more-diverse-following-national-trend/8198510002/
Ventura County, CA | Data USA. (n.d.). Datausa.io. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from https://datausa.io/profile/geo/ventura-county-ca/#demographics
Zein, M.D., M.P.H, M. (2017). Mental health facts for diverse populations – psychiatry.org. Mental Health Disparities: Diverse Populations. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from https://www.psychiatry.org/File%20Library/Psychiatrists/Cultural-Competency/Mental-Health-Disparities/Mental-Health-Facts-for-Diverse-Populations.pdf