Mental health conditions can affect anyone differently, regardless of race, color, gender, or identity. In the United States, 1 in 5 people experience a mental health condition. In July, we celebrate National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (NMMHAM), a national effort to raise awareness of mental health conditions affecting BIPOC communities (black, indigenous, and people of color) and an opportunity to learn more about the mental health services and treatments available at Baptist Health.
Mental Health in Minority Groups
Mental health encompasses physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Good mental health allows people to face daily problems and cope with stress with greater resilience. On the contrary, when people experience significant changes in cognition, mood, or behaviors, it could mean the person is prone to a mental health condition. Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and bipolar disorder, among others, can affect the way of thinking, relationships with others, and activities of daily living. Different factors such as genetics, biological, psychological, and environmental factors influence mental health conditions’ development.
Minority communities often face obstacles related to their mental health. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) the annual prevalence of mental conditions in adults in the U.S. per demographic group is as follows:
- White 22.6%
- Non-Hispanic mixed/multiracial: 35.8%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 18.7%
- Hispanic or Latino: 18.4%
- Black or African-American: 17.3%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 16.6%
- Asian: 13.9%
Although health conditions may be similar between races, certain conditions affect each group distinctively and have a higher incidence. For example, according to NAMI information, the Hispanic community’s most common mental health conditions are schizophrenia, generalized anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar. In regards to the Black community, there is a higher prevalence of generalized anxiety and major depressive disorders.
Warning Signs and When to Seek Care
Knowing the difference between typical symptoms and symptoms of a mental condition can sometimes be complex because the symptoms vary depending on different factors.
Despite the difference in effects in each person, some symptoms are similar and can be decisive in knowing if you need specialized care. According to NAMI, here are some of the common symptoms in adults and young people:
- Recurring dread or fear
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Confused thoughts and trouble concentrating
- Unexpected or uncontrolled mood swings
- Feelings of anger or irritability
- Avoiding or withdrawing from social activities, including difficulty relating to other people
- Changes in sleeping habits, eating, and sexual desire
- Difficulty perceiving reality, delusions, and hallucinations
- Substance, alcohol, or drug abuse
- Unaware of their mental health
Find more information about warning signs of mental illness from the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
Unlike other health conditions, mental conditions can be treatable, and their treatment will depend on the type of symptoms, whether they are mild or severe.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms, find the help you need by learning more about the variety of mental health services Baptist Health offers and the facilities available. Services include distance counseling, geriatric behavioral health, substance abuse, treatment, behavioral health, and internal medicine.
If you would like to speak with a mental health professional, request an appointment today.
Note: You may need a referral from your primary care provider to schedule an appointment. If you need a primary care provider, please call Baptist Health HealthLine at (888) 227-8478 to speak with a health advisor.