Letter from the Editor: Racial disparities in mental healthcare

As a white person living in the United Kingdom, I’ve been blind to the glaring racism that continues to happen all around us.

We’re in the 21st century, and I’ve been going about my day-to-day life wearing rose colored glasses. While racism should be a thing of the past, the sad reality is that it’s very much the present.

In the United States, Black people are almost five times more likely to report being unfairly stopped by the police because of their race or ethnicity than white people.

Black people in the U.S. are also up to 2.5 times more likely than white people to be killed by police. This is shocking, and the sad truth is that statistics like these will come as no surprise to Black communities.

On a personal level, these past few weeks have made me realize that I need to do much more to help address systemic racism. It starts with educating myself on the issues that Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) are facing every day.

As a health media company, we have to do more. We need to bring the problem of health inequity to the fore. We’ve neglected to do this in the past, but it’s something we’ve vowed to address going forward.

In line with BIPOC Mental Health month this July, one of our main focus areas has been raising awareness of the disparities that these people face when it comes to accessing mental healthcare.

Earlier this month, we investigated the issue of racism in mental healthcare and why it’s preventing marginalized ethnic groups from receiving the care that they need.

According to Nathan Greene, Psy.D. — one of Medical News Today’s expert advisors — “African Americans, Latinx, and Asian Americans receive treatment of mental health challenges at 50–70% lower rates than white Americans in this country. This is the result of failures on individual and systemic levels.”

In another article, we looked at how postpartum depression is disproportionately affecting women of color and why these women have lower rates of treatment.

As Prof. Tiffany Green, an assistant professor in the Departments of Population Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told MNT, “greater stigma associated with mental health in communities of color and lack of patient-provider racial/ethnic concordance” are likely causes of this issue.

Other topics we’ve covered this month include racial trauma and anxiety in Black communities.

By highlighting these topics, we’re hoping to raise awareness of them and build conversations around them. We want to play our part in breaking down the racist barriers to mental healthcare and all areas of healthcare.

To all our readers of color: We’re here for you, and we want to do more. Is there a health topic you’d like us to cover? Send us an email at [email protected] You can also reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter.

I’ll be back next month with the latest on what we’ve been doing at MNT.

Until then, we wish you a happy and healthful August.

Honor Whiteman, Editorial Director

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