National Minority Mental Health Month

  • Published
  • By Vera Ensalaco
  • 445th Airlift Wing Director of Psychological Health

July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and was established in 2008 to raise awareness about the unique mental health challenges faced by racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S.

These challenges include limited access to healthcare, lack of insurance, stigma, discrimination and human rights violations. Research shows minority groups may experience elevated levels of anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and PTSD.

Mental health impacts our emotional, psychological and social well-being, and is crucial to our overall well-being.

More than 1 in 5 U.S. adults face mental health issues, but not everyone can access treatment due to high costs, limited insurance coverage and a shortage of providers from their own racial or ethnic groups. Stigma and negative attitudes also discourage people from seeking help.

Beyond individual barriers, environmental factors can also significantly impact mental well-being. Exposure to racial discrimination or violence can lead to stress and racial trauma. Economic hardship due to poverty or low income can impede access to mental health care and contribute to elevated stress levels and potential mental health issues.

This month also focuses on destigmatization of mental health and explores issues concerning substance abuse disorders. Some research suggests that multi-racial individuals are more apt to screen for anxiety, depression, eating disorders and substance abuse compared to other groups. 

When I train or brief, I almost always ask, “Do you know who is going through something? All of us are.” It is important to remember to be open and non-judgmental of others. If you notice someone needs assistance, or want to be proactive, become familiar with resources such as those below and share the information:

The following classes and trainings offered through 445th Airlift Wing; please contact me if you are interested:

  • American Red Cross Resilience workshops
  • TeamUP: two 2-hour classes on emotion management skills during unit training assemblies and throughout the week 
  • safeTalk: one 4-hour in-person training to recognize and help people with suicidal thoughts 
  • Four Lenses: a 3-hour personality temperament workshop to help individuals establish a common language for diverse perspectives and talents in your settings