In some minority and marginalized communities, mental health is often considered a taboo or weakness — sometimes it is described as something that should be “taken to God.” Treatment for mental illness is spoken about in even more hushed tones. Research indicates that minorities seem to face an even stronger and formidable type of stigma. When you combine the increased stigma with the decreased or fewer resources for quality treatment, you are bound to have a higher incidence of persons really becoming ill and struggling alone with their illnesses.
Some ways to help change the way things are:
- Share information you’ve learned about accessing quality care to others.
- Try to be more open and understanding toward what minority communities might be experiencing that you might not be.
- When asked how minority communities could overcome cultural barriers in mental health, it has been said, “finding people around you that feel the same is very powerful, because depression is VERY isolating.” Sharing your story could help others feel they aren’t alone.
- Be a spokesperson when there is an opportunity to speak out on behalf of minority mental health.
- Help support efforts in your community by informing your ADAMH Board what you think works and does not work. Volunteer to help when it comes time for levy campaigns.