Racism is a Public Health Crisis

Racism is a Public Health Crisis

According to a May 2020 statement from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), "Racism is a public health crisis." This means that racism - intentional, unintentional, unconscious, or concealed - has affected Black American's access to equal and "culturally competent" health care. And the systemic implications of this reality, particularly in the thrashes of an ongoing pandemic, are deeply troubling.

Mental Health Implications of Broken Systems

As a result of racism -- and its insidious affects across systems, sectors, and industries -- mental health has become a vital issue facing the Black community in America. And sadly, given the racism and racial injustice African Americans have faced, it's not surprising that they have become more susceptible to struggle with mental illness such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

Unfortunately, just 1/3 of Black people will receive the help they need. For some, longstanding racism has hurt their economic prospects and their ability to access affordable, high-quality mental health assistance. Other African Americans are afraid of the stigmas regarding mental illness and treatment.

Accessing Resources

But not finding help can make mental illnesses even worse. One of the goals of Sunshine Behavioral Health is to help people find the assistance they need, when they need it. They've created a guide to help us begin to understand the impact of racism and discrimination on the mental health of our black communities, so that we can work together to build a more cohesive and resilient country.

And this is just the beginning of a critical conversation about how racism affects the African American community's mental health. Because this is intended to help reduce the shame and stigma sometimes associated with mental illness and mental health treatment, so we can build more resilient communities, together.

This information was provided to us by Sunshine Behavioral Heath. We do not pretend to know everything. But we are committed to working collaboratively with people across sectors and industries in order to help changemakers like you understand todays challenges so you can help build better solutions.