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A Closer Look at Minority Health

A Closer Look at Minority Mental Health Status

Aug. 10, 2022
Minority populations have a lower likelihood of receiving diagnosis and treatment for mental health conditions.

As many companies are increasing efforts to be inclusive in their hiring practices, often overlooked is the gap that exists between employee populations. In research done by  the Integrated Benefits Institute, (IBI) Insights, many minority populations including black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQIA+) community, have a lower likelihood of receiving diagnosis and treatment for mental health conditions.

Some of the reasons for this is due to poor access to mental health services as well as difficulty finding high-quality mental health care.  Furthermore, many minorities feel that these inequities exist because health care providers cannot relate to them or are culturally insensitive, according to IBI.

IBI offers some statistics about minority mental health”

  • The rate of depression is lower in Black people and Hispanic people compared to White people; however, depression is likely to be more persistent in Black and Hispanic people.
  • Higher rates of mental illness, substance use, and even suicide has been linked with discrimination and harassment of LGBTQIA+ employees.
  • Depression in minorities tends to have a disproportionately high burden of disability resulting from mental disorders.
  • Native Americans experience serious psychological distress 1.5 times more than the general population.
  • People who identify as being two or more races (25%), followed by Indigenous people (23%) reported having mental illness within the past year compared to White(19%) and Black (17%) groups.
  • BIPOC are offered medication or therapy at lower rates than the general population.

The author of the blog, Carol Bonner offers a few actions that employers can take to address this issue.

  • Avoid stigmatizing language. Conduct stigma awareness training with leadership as well as all employees.
  • Acknowledge the need for culturally competent mental health providers. Ensure benefit plans include culturally competent providers in network, connect employees to networks, and keep it updated.
  • De-normalize marginalizing non-majority populations.

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