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Monthly Message

July 2023 Message: Honoring National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

By June 11, 2023June 30th, 2023No Comments

Last month we talked about how discrimination and stigma can lead to difficulty in accessing mental healthcare for our LGBTQIA+ neighbors. This month, in honor of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month , we want to talk about how racial, ethnic, and religious minorities often face a similar lack of access for many reasons. 

First, let’s start with the facts. According to recent data from the American Psychiatric Association, “only one-in-three African Americans who need mental health care receives it.Other troubling statistics from the APA show that American Indian/Native Alaskan youth experience the highest rates of lifetime major depressive episodes and self-reported depression rates of any ethnic group. It does not stop there; government data from 2018 reported that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders were 60 percent less likely and Hispanic people were 50% less likely to have received care for their mental health than the White people. 

Many factors can prevent minority populations from seeking healthcare including discrimination, concerns about immigration status, and difficulty finding supportive treatment for their particular intersection of identities. Compounded by things that we all face, like financial stress, lack of time, and not knowing where to start, these factors regularly lead to many of our friends and neighbors not being able to access the support or treatment they may need. 

If you hold a minority racial, ethnic, or religious identity, we want to help you find the care and resources that would feel most supportive to you. Here are some places to start:

  • Find an affirming therapist that you trust: We will continue to shout it from the rooftops…you deserve to work with providers who understand and affirm your unique experience of being in the world! There are many incredible resources on the internet to help you find therapists who either share your identity or are culturally competent. Ready to get started? Here are our tips on finding a therapist who is right for you.
  • Recognize the positive: While the statistics above seem bleak, reports also show that there are mental health advantages to embracing one’s identity and community. For many minority groups, a close sense of community, a positive view of one’s identity, and even religious norms around daily reflection can positively support your mental health and well-being. 
  • Break the stigma: Stigma grows when we think we are alone in our struggles. Having thoughtful, honest conversations about mental health with those you trust can be an important first step in breaking some of those walls. Mental Health America has a thoughtful guide on how to start the conversation.
  • Engage in self-care: In 1988 writer, thinker, and activist Audre Lorde put her infamous quote about self-care into the world, declaring it an act of self-preservation and a manifestation of her politics. Self-care does not solve issues like structural inequality or racism, but it can be an intentional way that you show up for yourself and your mental health in the day-to-day. This month, International Self Care Day falls on July 24th as a gentle reminder to engage in some practices that are nourishing to you. If you need help getting started, here’s our guide to finding what works for you.

And remember, you can call us any time for more custom support options that align with your identities, your insurance, and your lifestyle. Just dial 844-YOU-OKAY to reach our free, confidential support line for Tampa Bay. We would love to help you start your mental health journey by helping you find care that is respectful of your racial, ethnic, and religious identity. Let us help you find supportive local resources that work for YOU.

We care deeply about connecting our community to the mental health resources that they need to thrive and grow. We believe that we can all be a part of a more equitable world. This Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is a chance to move forward together, to acknowledge where we are and where we want to be, as individuals and as a collective. 

We’ll see you next month, 

Your Team at Tampa Bay Thrives

 

Tampa Bay Thrives

Tampa Bay Thrives is an innovative nonprofit helping people in the Tampa Bay area better address mental health and substance use issues.

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