Mental Health Care Disparities: Consequences of Ineffectiveness and Lack of Access for Minorities

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Mental Health Care Disparities: Consequences of Ineffectiveness and Lack of Access for Minorities

Ebony Marinnie RN

Rowan University

Mental Health Care Disparities: Consequences of ineffectiveness and lack of access for minorities

For ages mental illness has been seen as the ultimate curse. The mentally ill were seen as possessed, hidden from society, and never talked about. In America, it is estimated that 26.2 percent of people ages 18 and older suffer from a diagnosed mental disorder in a given year (Kessler,Chiu, Walters, & Demler, 2005). The aforementioned statistics reflect those that have sought or been forced into treatment. There are many left uncounted due to lack of access and ineffective treatment secondary to a number of reasons. Considering history, discrimination, personal perception, socioeconomic status, educational backgrounds and a host of other reasons many minority groups are reluctant to seek out treatment in what many may consider a system of mental health created and sustained primarily for the middle and upper-class White America. In fact, 60 percent of people with mental illnesses do not receive treatment (Kessler et al., 2005). The purpose of this paper is to discuss mental health care disparities in minority populations within American society, and to suggest some needed changes to close the gap in America. One quarter of all Americans meet the criteria for having a mental illness and a quarter of those have a disorder that significantly disrupts their ability to function day to day, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (2001). A citizen’s inability to work and function weighs heavy on the productivity of the entire society. The World Health Organization has reported that 4 of the 10 leading causes of disability in the United States are mental disorders (2001). According to Drake, Skinner,…...

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