July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. In observance, AAHP will focus on raising awareness of mental health issues and promote and support access to quality mental health care among African Americans in Montgomery County. Unfortunately, African Americans face more mental health challenges than White Americans but are less likely to receive quality mental health treatment. According to Health in Montgomery County, 2008-2016, a report published by Montgomery County Health and Human Services, African Americans had the highest rate of emergency room visits for mental health and substance abuse. The reasons for these disparities include the stigmatization of mental illness as well as less access to quality health care among African Americans overall.
Everyone can do their part to improve mental health outcomes among African Americans by reducing the stigma of mental illness. Open, earnest conversations about mental health with friends and family can help “normalize” mental health so that more people can be encouraged to seek treatment to improve their mental health and ultimately, their sense of peace and well-being.