Originally posted on PhD Balance social media platforms on 02/22/2020.
30% of African American adults with mental illness receive treatment each year. This is lower than the U.S. average of 43% of adults with mental illness who receive treatment.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness includes the following reasons for why fewer African Americans receive treatment for mental illness:
1. Distrust and misdiagnosis because of prejudice and discrimination in the health care system.
2. Socio-economic factors that limit the availability of treatment (11% of African Americans did not have health insurance in 2017).
They also report that African Americans, especially women, are likely to mention physical aches and pains related to mental health problems, which not all health providers might recognize as mental health symptoms.
The African American community often turns to faith, family and spiritual beliefs for support rather than turning to health care professionals because of such factors. Spirituality can be a strong element of treatment, but if community members are misinformed or stigmatizing, seeking professional help as well may be beneficial.