Ethnic minorities such as the Latino, African-Americans or the Hispanics have often reported to suffer from mental illness (Wheeler, 2003). There are several reasons that cause psychological disorders in these populations. This essay examines the psychological disorders among the African-Americans. It also aims at highlighting the therapeutic approaches that may prove beneficial.
There are various factors that contribute to mental health illness among the African-Americans. The constant discrimination that they face, beliefs such as mental illness are a result of the fault of an individual that has made several individuals of this population fall prey to. As a result of such mental illness, the population has been found to exhibit variety of psychological disorders such as interpersonal anxiety and drug abuse (Wheeler, 2003). Suicidal tendencies among the teenagers, higher rates of psychological distress among the African- Americans living below the poverty level, feeling of worthlessness, sadness and hopelessness are some of the key psychological disorders identified in this population.
It is important to understand the negative impacts of mental health stigma in this ever growing population. A clear understanding would lead to the generation of therapeutic approaches to alleviate the distress among the individuals. Psychotherapy and psychotropic drugs have provided a guiding light for treatment of the psychological disorders. However, one needs to overcome unimaginable barriers to treat this population. This is because the individuals have preconceived beliefs and notions regarding mental stigma. Their belief that treatment for slight mental illness would be considered “crazy” among their friend circles. Besides this, judgemental issues and stigma prevent the African-Americans from seeking therapeutic help for their mental illness. Furthermore, complaints against the racial discrimination that they face have instilled a fear in them. More than 2% of the population believe that the practitioners are incompetent to diagnose their illness because of the microaggression from their therapists (DeFreitas et al., 2018). Therefore, they have lost faith in the medical practitioners. This is one issue that would arise emotional reaction in an individual. However, exposing the population to mental illness, cohort effects as well as educating people would help in improving their mindset.
Increasing diversity among the health givers, breaking the language barriers and providing access to insurance would enable health givers to improve the current health services for the African Americans (American Psychiatric Association., 2017). The key tool towards improving the current situation would be educating the masses as well as providing them an environment that is not only safe but is free from any racial discrimination.
It is indeed the need of the hour to provide a deep insight into the barriers to care that have been imposed on the African-American population. Improved therapeutic practices as well as education would help in reducing the psychological disorders that the population has fallen prey to. Above all, the essay drives home the fact that increasing diversity among the practitioners would mitigate the fears and help the individuals to open up to seek help and treatment.
American Psychiatric Association. (2017). Mental health disparities: Diverse populations. Washington, DC.
DeFreitas, S. C., Crone, T., DeLeon, M., & Ajayi, A. (2018). Perceived and personal mental health stigma in Latino and African American college students. Frontiers in public health, 6, 49.
Wheeler, D. P. (2003). Methodological issues in conducting community-based health and social services research among urban Black and African American LGBT populations. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 15(1-2), 65-78.