SIMEDHealth

Minority Mental Health with Markus Dietrich, LMHC

July is observed as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and we discussed these struggles with SIMEDHealth Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Markus Dietrich.

 

“Approximately 18% of US adults have a mental health diagnosis in any given year, 4% of the affected people have a severe mental illness.” [1] Mental illness does not discriminate by race or gender, even though prevalence of certain diagnoses varies.

Racial and ethnic minority communities face unique struggles regarding mental health problems.

 

 

1. What are the challenges racial and ethnic minority communities face regarding mental health illnesses?

Mental health problems still carry a stigma for some. There is a higher stigma regarding mental health in some racial and ethnic groups, making it harder to recognize and identify mental health illnesses. Even when problems are identified, minority communities can be disproportionally affected by certain barriers. Among those are uninsured or under insured accessing services provided in medical settings, capacity issues, waiting lists in publicly funded agencies and a general distrust in healthcare systems. On the provider side a significant issue is a lack of diversity, with 81% of providers being Caucasian. This lack of diversity can manifest in lack of cultural competence and language barriers, making it potentially more difficult for some to find providers they can relate to.   

 

2. Why do some people resist getting help for mental health illnesses?

Mental health issues are still less understood and for some carry a stigma compared to physical illness. Thanks in part to the media, famous entertainers, and influencers have been forthcoming with their own mental health and substance abuse problems; drawing attention to the importance of mental health.  Mental illness is not always evident, making it difficult for people to recognize it. When a person is ready for help, it is important that access to treatment is easy and timely.

 

3. What can one do to help someone struggling with mental health?

Be a friend, listen with the intent to understand, and avoid being judgmental. Showing judgment while someone is expressing their emotions can prevent them in the future from confiding in you. Showing someone support can be simply being a good listener, validating their emotions and letting them know they’re not alone, or helping them find resources and solutions.  

 

4. What are things one can do to boost their mental health?

Even though one might not experience a mental illness like depression or an anxiety disorder, most of us can improve our mental health. Ways to boost your mental health include good self- care, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol consumption, and seeking and maintaining healthy relationships.

 

5. Any additional comments?

Taking care of your health includes physical and mental health. If you’re struggling and need help, reach out to appropriate specialists. Thanks to the wide variety of treatment options available today, most mental illnesses are treatable.

 

 

[1] Mental Health Disparities: Diverse Populations, American Psychiatric Association, 2017

Quick Tips that Can Help Improve Your Mental Health

18.6% of Black adults, 16.3% of Latino adults, 13.9% of Asian adults, and 28.3% of American Indian and Alaskan Native adults are living with a mental health condition. LGBTQ+ individuals are two times more likely to have a mental health condition than straight and conforming adults. These communities not only struggle with access to resources but also struggle with the stigma that surrounds depression, anxiety, and other disorders. It's crucial that we help break that stigma, so here are five tips we discussed with Lady Lake psychologist Dr. Cathleen Civiello about what you can you to consciously and continuously improve on your mental health.

1) Write your stressful day down.

Sometimes the most significant stress relief is to get the stress out. Dr. Civiello suggests writing out your day in detail as opposed to ruminating about the experience and says it has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. Whether it be handwriting or typing on the computer, even five minutes can make you feel better.

2) Go for a short walk.

Going outside, being exposed to sunlight and getting your mind off work or school for a couple of minutes can have a meaningful effect on your brain. When you're feeling sleepy, anxious, bored, or you want to be active, consider taking a ten-minute walk, and you may be surprised at how much it can affect your mood.

3) Keep an achievement and gratitude journal.

An achievement and gratitude journal is something that helps you reflect on your day and focus on the positive things you did. There are apps for your phone, specialized journals you can buy online, or you can just come up with prompts and questions yourself. Dr. Civiello says the important thing is to keep a positive mind frame.

4) Talk to someone you love.

When or if writing out your feelings doesn't make you feel better, talking to a family member, or close friend may. Call them on the phone or ask them to get coffee. Getting advice, encouragement, and support from someone you love and trust can be the thing you need to improve your day or week.

5) Get enough sleep.

Those with mental health problems are more inclined to have a sleep disorder or insomnia. Dr. Civiello talks about how sleep is essential for every aspect of life, but without quality sleep, our mental health can deteriorate rapidly. Make sure you are getting seven to eight hours a night, but if you're still waking up tired, it may be beneficial to make an appointment for a sleep study.

 

Living with a mental illness isn't easy, but you don't need to do it alone. If you feel like you need to talk to someone, or you want more advice for improving your mental health, click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Civiello or one of our other psychologists.