Mental illness is the leading cause of disability in North America and Europe in every community costing the U.S. over half a trillion dollars per year. Mental health is defined as the emotional and social wellbeing and psychological resources for dealing with the day-to-day problems of life. Mental illness is the term describing all mental disorders. Mental disorders are health conditions that are identified by changes in thinking and behavior. Mental disorders as well as mental impairment can occur from postnatal exposure to physical, chemical, and biological agents, like secondhand cigarette smoke. Brain function impairment can be caused by trauma, such as a car crash or bullet wound, or by disease, such as syphilis, cancer, or stroke. Maladaptive family functioning (such as having a parent with mental illness, or substance abuse problem) poverty, experiencing violence, physical or sexual abuse, or neglect can also lead to mental illness. Growing up in neighborhoods marked by social division leads to discrimination, and social hardship adds to the risk.
Psychological distress, acculturation, and help-seeking attitudes were all measured using specific indexes and scales set for the point of interest. The hypotheses of this research was that even within the African American community, one would find disparities in the treatment of psychological issues – just based on the method of acculturation used, and their views on society. There are 4 basic modes of acculturation: traditionalist, assimilationist, integrationist, and marginalist. It is thought that the integrationist acculturation strategy is the best for optimizing and maximizing well-being. Although there is not a difference in the number of African Americans that have mental health problems when compared to European-Americans, the percentage of those who seek professional mental health services due to emotional distress is representatively lower. The rate at which African Americans receive psychological help services is half as much as that of European Americans – there is a need for an explanation of that statistic. The goal of this paper is to determine the reasoning behind the help-seeking disparities in African Americans and the field of psychological health. In order to make health services fair, we must first understand the reasoning behind why or why not one would seek out professional help in the first place. Understanding ethno cultural attitudes and other cultural variables will allow the health care field to better relate and help all people more uniformly and to the best of their needs.
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O'Quinn, K. D. (2008). Cognitive behavioral therapy with african american clients. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from http://www.pitt.edu/~kdost8/CBT.html
A mental disorder, or illness, is defined as “a mental… condition marked primarily by sufficient disorganization of personality, mind, and emotions to seriously impair the normal psychological functioning of the individual” (Merriam & Webster, 2014). Mental illness affects approximately 1 of 4 people in the United States over the age of 18, or 26.2%. Of that 26.2%, six percent of them suffer from a mental disorder that is considered serious and 45% of them have characteristics that meet the criteria for more than one mental disorder. On any given day, 6.7% of United States citizens are suffering from depression, 1.5% are suffering from dysthymic disorder, 2.6% are exhibiting signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder, 1.1% are diagnosed with schizophrenia, 18.1% are suffering from anxiety, and 13.8% of the population are battling conditions such as eating disorders, attention deficient hyperactivity disorder, or a personality disorder (National Institute of Mental Health, 2014).
Mental health means much more than the absence of mental illness. When we talk about happiness, peace of mind, joy or satisfaction, we actually mean mental health. Mental health is a part of our life, it means how people understand family, school, work, play, a community with their peers.
When contemplating the vastness of social policies that could benefit from advocacy for policy change and a thoughtful, responsive audience, there is one topic that situates itself to the forefront of the list of policies needing major reform. This topic is that of health care resources available to those coping with mental health concerns. Though this population faces a variety of challenges such as housing/ homelessness, employment/ training opportunities and educational attainment to suggest a few, each challenge cycles into the next, effecting one another, disturbing how an individual can cope medically. Health care rights for those with mental health concerns bubbled to the public consciousness around with the acknowledgement of “serious
African Americans are less likely to use healthcare. They tend to not visit the doctor. Their reasoning could be the barriers that were just defined but African Americans tend to wait until it’s too late to do many preventative measures. For example, obese African American patients are less likely to receive counseling about diet and exercise. They would not be able to afford exercise equipment or a gym membership to increase exercise. It is also expensive to buy food especially that is low sodium for a well-balanced meal. Society has made it cheap and easy for fast food stores which is unhealthy for someone watching their salt intake and weight. The biggest barrier of all is medical mistrust. If an African American mistrusts the healthcare than they are more likely not to go to a healthcare provider, they will not be compliant with medication and/or take their medication. Therefore, will only go seek medical attention in an emergency situation. Low literacy can also be a struggle in this community, this can cause distress if they cannot read the instructions or able to truly understand their well-being. The need for health promotion is at a critical high and needs to be
The African American community is suffering with the issue of inadequate mental health care for many decades. There is a deep lack of understanding about what mental illness is and there are many barriers that hinder African Americans from receiving the care that they need. People are unaware of the effects of mental illness, and what mental illness can encompass. “Most importantly, mental health includes people’s feelings of worth in the context of the total cultural and societal system as well as within the identifiable groups to which they belong.” (Snowden, 165) The experience you receive as a race and how you perceive your race is apart of mental illness. Many African American people look down upon their race due to socioeconomic hierarchy that society has given people. African American’s are at high risk to developing mental illness. Healthcare providers have misdiagnosed many African Americans due to lack of knowledge. “African Americans in ...
Mental health care disparities can be rooted in inequalities in access to good providers, differences in insurance coverage, or discrimination by health professionals in the clinical encounter (McGuire & Miranda, 2008). Surely, those who are affected by these disparities are minorities Blacks and Latinos compare to Whites. Due to higher rates of poverty and poor health among United States minorities compared with whites. Moreover, the fact that poverty and poor health are
For many years, mental illness has been one of the most stigmatized medical issues. Stigma is when society places a marker of disgrace that is associated with a particular circumstance or quality you have. The stigma surrounding mental illness is mainly because it does not have much credibility since it is something that is not physically seen. People assume that because they cannot see it or fully explain it that it is not real and that is when stigma is created. It then becomes more stigmatized when it intersects with a group that is already being put down by society; black women. In society, black women are already constantly being stigmatized, and by adding on mental illness that stigma becomes worse. Although black women have higher rates of being mentally ill, there is still not as much attention being brought to it because of the low representation. The stereotype of having to be a “strong Black women” has made black women less likely to seek medical help for their mental illnesses. Black women have it implanted in their minds that they have to be strong in the face of adversity and that seeking help would be a sign of weakness.
As our country moves from a society made up of mainly manual laborers, to a society of white-collar workers, Americans find themselves with more and more leisure time. Often, if everything is going well in the world, society will look for problems to take the place of those that have been eliminated. For example, during the past ten years, Americans have had few really big problems, there have been no close to home wars, the economy is doing well, and unemployment has been dramatically down. Because of this, people have had large amounts of free time and energy, which was previously spent trying to work out larger problems and issues. For many people, this time is spent looking within themselves and often noticing things within their personality and psyche that would have been overlooked by earlier generations (onhealth.com/ conditions/cause). Statistics of today would lead one to believe that the occurrence of these illnesses has increased, however; awareness and the willingness of the victim to receive help has increased instead. There is less of a stigma attached to seeking mental health care than there has ever been before in this country. People are more willing to recognize and obtain help for their problems instead of ignoring them and going on with their lives as if nothing is wrong. With the continual exposure of the general public to these diseases, society is sure to place even a lesser degree of shame on the sufferer and his or her family.