Awareness Month July: Minority Mental Health


National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Did you know that July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month?

While the term ‘minority’ is traditionally associated with racial, ethnic, or cultural minorities, Mental Health America (MHA) and its affiliates, like the Mental Health Association in Passaic County is focused on expanding this term to include individuals from a wide-range of marginalized and underserved communities. This includes the LGBTQ+ spectrum, refugee and immigrant groups, religious groups, and others who are often overlooked.

By making this term more inclusive, we are broadening our way of thinking and underscoring the need to address mental health issues with a unique lens while integrating the varied needs of diverse communities.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

  • Over 70% of Black/African American adolescents with a major depressive episode did not receive treatment for their condition.
  • Almost 25% of adolescents with a major depressive episode in the last year were Hispanic/Latino.
  • Asian American adults were less likely to use mental health services than any other racial/ethnic groups.
  • In the past year, nearly 1 in 10 American Indian or Alaska Native young adults had serious thoughts of suicide.
  • In the past year, 1 in 7 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander adults had a diagnosable mental illness.

Several large-scale studies have also shown *

  • Higher rates of major depression, generalized anxiety disorder and substance use or dependence in lesbian and gay youth.
  • Higher rates of recurrent major depression among gay men.
  • Higher rates of anxiety, mood and substance use disorders, and suicidal thoughts among people ages 15 to 54 with same-sex partners.
  • Higher use of mental health services in men and women reporting same-sex partners.


The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) community faces mental health conditions just like the rest of the population community experiences more negative mental health outcomes due to prejudice, harassment, discrimination and family rejection. Finding mental health providers that are inclusive and sensitive to these issues is a real challenge.

Here is some information from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Here are some ideas to help locate an LQBTQ-inclusive provider:

Tips For Talking To Your Provider

  • If you feel comfortable, come out when you meet with your provider.
  • Ask questions about the provider’s experience working with LGBTQ people.
  • Be confident about disclosing relevant information about your sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • Be open about your thoughts and feelings of depression, suicide, anxiety, fear and self-harm.
  • Ask for more information about any health-care-related referrals, including to other therapists and psychiatrists.

Support & Resources

If you are experiencing a mental health condition, it’s possible to take control of your health care and improve your chance of recovery. There are a number of resources available:


* Several large population-based public health studies are discussed in the November American Psychologist (Vol. 56, No. 11) by Susan Cochran, PhD, an epidemiologist in the University of California, Los Angeles