July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, which seeks to raise awareness about mental illness and its effects on racial and ethnic minority populations.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), communities of color are less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for their mental illness, have less access to mental health services and often receive a lower quality of mental health care. For instance, in 2017, HHS found that 41.5% of youth ages 12-17 received care for a major depressive episode, compared to just 35.1% of Black youth and 32.7% of Hispanic youth who received treatment for their condition. In the same year, 13.3% of youth ages 12-17 had at least one depressive episode, compared to higher rates among American Indian and Alaska Native youth at 16.3% and among Hispanic youth at 13.8%.
Moreover, experts have long documented a link between poverty levels and mental health status. Currently, 22% of Black Americans, 19% of Hispanics and 24% of American Indians experience poverty, compared with 9% of non-Hispanic whites.