"This February, we have an opportunity to cultivate a tradition of inclusive education, one that will transcend beyond the month." - The Embark Diversity and Inclusion
Every year during the month of February, we recognize and celebrate Black History Month. This is such an important time to acknowledge the role that African Americans have played in Canada throughout history (and present) and to celebrating their achievements. But how does this relate to mental health? Keep reading to learn more.
Black History & Mental Health
As you know, mental health does not discriminate based on race or background BUT those factors can make access to mental health much more difficult and the ongoing stigma surrounding lack of access to the health care continue to be barriers for anyone - but especially minorities.
The Statistics (From Plymouth Psych Group)
Mental illness affects 1 in 4 Americans. However, African American adults are 20% more likely to experience mental health issues than the rest of the population.
In a study published in the 'International Journal of Health Services', researchers found that black young people were less able to get mental health services than white children and young adults.
Current research suggests that 25% of African Americans seek treatment for a mental health issue, compared to 40% of Caucasian individuals. The reasons for this drop off include misdiagnosis by doctors, socioeconomic factors, and a lack of African American mental health professionals.
Adult Black/African Americans living below poverty are 3 times more likely to report severe psychological distress than those living above poverty.
African Americans teenagers are more likely to attempt suicide (8.3%) than are white teenagers (6.2%).
6.2% of psychologists, 5.6% of advanced-practice psychiatric nurses, 12.6% of social workers, and 21.3% of psychiatrists are members of minority groups.
- According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), only 3.7% of members in the American Psychiatric Association and 1.5% of members in the American Psychological Association are Black.
Events you can attend this month
1) Black History Month: Art, Songs and Stories - February 18th
2) Freedom of Speech Celebration - February 26th
3) Toronto Black Film Festival - February 16th
4) Black History Month Paint Night - February 24th
5) Black History Month Luncheon - February 28th
Working to End the Stigma and Break Down Barriers
This month we celebrate all African Americans and work to break down barriers for all minorities. Everyone should have proper accecss to mental health resources and it starts with YOU and ME. We must continue to build awareness and do our part to advocate for equal rights.