Each July, National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is observed to help bring awareness to the unique mental health struggles facing racial and ethnic minority communities in the U.S.
Mental health encompasses an individual’s emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act, and helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
Due to multiple factors, racial and ethnic minorities often suffer from poor mental health outcomes. Some of the reasons for this include limited access to quality mental health care services or lack of awareness about mental health. Some communities face discrimination or cultural stigma if they seek mental health care.
Dr. Charles Brown, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Akron Children’s, said he’s seen a shift in how kids today view mental health.
“They are more aware and comfortable talking about mental health issues than the generations before them,” he said. “Mental health diagnoses and treatment have carried a great deal of stigma in some minority populations, and this discrepancy can lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment of kids who desire support but fear judgment from family and/or community members.”
By creating an awareness around minority mental health issues, Dr. Brown hopes it will become less stigmatized. As someone who cares for the mental health needs of others, he tries to find a balance when attending to his own mental health.
“In order to re-center, I love spending time with my family, being outside, and staying up to date with new music,” he said.
To learn more about mental health and the support offered at Akron Children’s, visit akronchildrens.org/departments/Behavioral-Health.html