Mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender or identity. Anyone can experience the challenges of mental illness regardless of their background. However, background and identity can make access to mental health treatment much more difficult. In 2008, July was established as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month to start changing this.

This week we are spotlighting African American Mental Health as part of this initiative.

As over 13 percent of the population, African Americans are the second largest ethnic minority, but they often receive disproportionately less and lower quality care than other communities for both medical and mental health services.

Despite the needs, only one in three Black or African American adults who need mental health care receive it. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Mental Health Facts for African Americans guide, African Americans are:

  • Less likely to receive guideline-consistent care
  • Less frequently included in research
  • More likely to use emergency rooms or primary care (rather than mental health specialists)

More information about mental health in the African American community can be found here.