Minorities face higher rates of mental health issues, lower treatment rates

July is minority mental health month

DENVER — This month, Mental Health Colorado is shining the spotlight on minority communities, who deal with mental health issues at a higher rate than white populations.

Mental Health Colorado CEO Andrew Romanoff says there are a number of reasons for the disparity, including racism and discrimination, poverty, and a lack of mental health professionals of color.

"The therapy relationship depends on finding a mental health care professional who can speak your language, who can understand your culture, who can relate to you." Romanoff said. "Poverty is often associated with increased stress, so is racism and discrimination, and the truth is less income also means less access to mental health care," he added.

A 2014 study by the American Psychiatric Association found 36 percent of Hispanics with depression received care, versus 60 percent of whites. Among youth, Latino and African American teens are also more likely to report suicidal thoughts, or attempt suicide than their white counterparts.

Language can also be a barrier for getting treatment, which is why the Mental Health Colorado website can be translated into Spanish. Spanish speakers can take a self screening for depression and anxiety, and find links to resources.

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can always call the free, confidential crisis line. It is available in both English and Spanish. Call 844-493-8255 (TALK) or text TALK to 38255.

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