Mental health is a generally less understood and accepted than physical
ailments, and minority communities are particularly underserved. July
is Minority Mental Health Month, a time for doctors and community members
alike to increases awareness about mental illness in minority groups and
to advocate for the development of resources for these patients. If you
are experiencing a mental health issue, get
emergency care or make an appointment with a physician for treatment. Here is a look
at some of the health risks that minority communities face.
Major depression is a serious, chronic condition that causes loss of energy, hopelessness,
low self-esteem, and in many cases, physical pain. There is no single
cause, but many people living with depression have experienced trauma
and loss. There are also differences in the brains of many depression
sufferers. Minority populations may experience greater rates of major
depression than other groups, but they do not receive treatment at the
same rates for a number of reasons, including lack of access to care and
community stigmas about mental illness.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD occurs in the wake of a traumatic event and can cause crippling symptoms.
People with PTSD may suffer from intrusive memories, hypervigilance, avoidance,
and dissociation. Minority communities are more likely to be the victims
of crime and violent discrimination, that can trigger PTSD and cause significant
life disruption without treatment, but many people in minority communities
do not seek care.
Anxiety disorders are more than temporarily feeling stressed over a specific
event. Instead, an anxiety disorder causes prolonged periods of chronic
stress that can use physical and mental health problems. Minorities are
vulnerable to anxiety disorders in part because of an instance of discrimination,
unequal access to medical care, and cultural stigmas attached to mental illness.
There is no need to suffer in silence with mental illness. Help is available
at West Hills Hospital. If you are having thoughts of harming yourself
or others, seek emergency care or call our hospital in West Hills for
a referral to a physician who can treat mental health disorders. Speak
to a nurse and request a referral today by calling (818) 676-4321.