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Minority Mental Health Month!

Disclaimer: I am not an expert in the experiences of minority groups or the disparities and oppression they face every day. I am a counselor and this is the result of my personal research on the subject in hopes to educate and help others with the information I find.

Last month we covered Racial Disparities in Black American Communities in respect of Juneteenth and #BlackLivesMatter. Although Black Americans suffer horrible disparities in health care, mental Health treatment, and countless other aspects that are subjects of oppression in America, they are not the only ones who suffer these disparities. This month, we will talk about other minorities and the disparities they face in mental health treatment based on their heritage and the color of their skin. The categories we will be covering, although they in now way can cover every ethnicity an individual may have in America, include Latinx, Hispanics, Asian Americans (including Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders), and Native Americans.

Just as we did last month, we will discuss three different aspects of mental health treatment disparities found in these minority groups. These disparity groups include the following:

Spirituality and Community

Spirituality refers to the qualities that inspire us to do what is right and good.Community refers to a feeling of fellowship with others. Spirituality, Community, and Spiritual Community have a strong impact on Mental Wellness and Mental Health Treatment.

Socioeconomic Status

Socioeconomic status is a compilation of income, education, and occupation and plays a large part in the inherent privilege a person gains from where they come from, what their race is, and other positive characteristics they have been afforded. Socioeconomic status plays a part in racial disparities in mental health treatment because of the disparities in socioeconomic status that already exist in America based on race.

Provider Bias

Provider bias is when the provider of care (in this case, Mental Health Provider) has a personal bias, which can be either conscious or subconscious, that affects the care of their client. There are different kinds of biases that can affect the care of a provider's client. Some are positive in nature and others are negative. Some are subconscious and some are the result of a conscious bias or even a conscious over-compensation.

Before we begin discussing specific disparities, it's important that we cover the specifics of what each minority group means and what ethnicities/races/heritages they encompass.


Many people do not know the difference between Latinx and Hispanic. I didn't know until I looked it up myself and I have close family who were born in Mexico.

G. Cristina Mora explained the difference between the two this way:

"Hispanic is a sense of community through a connection to Spain."
"Latino is a sense of community through a history of colonization from Spain."

Hispanic comes from the Latin word Hispania which loosely translates to "Spain" in English. The definition for Hispanic is "of or relating to speech, or culture of Spain or of Spain or Portugal" (Merriam-Webster).

Latinx is a gender-neutral term used in place of Latino or Latino to describe a person of Latin American origin. The Definition of Latino is "of or relating to Latin American origin or descent" (Merriam-Webster).

Although there are clear differences between the two, most people who are Latinx or Hispanic determine which term they prefer if they can identify with either or both.

Asian American, Pacific Islander

Asian American is an oversimplified and homogenized term to describe a wide variety of people. It includes all people who's families originated in an Asian country, but they now live in America.

Pacific Islanders are people who live in or whose families originated in the Pacific Islands including all islands on the pacific.

Native American

Native American is a term to describe the indigenous people of the Americas before they were colonized. These people are known by many different terms including:

  • Indigenous

  • Aboriginal

  • Indian (based off of the incorrect assumption that the Americas were actually India when "discovered")

  • Native American

  • Eskimo or Inuit (for Alaskan Natives)

The term that is most appropriate to be used can only be determined by the person being referred to. They decide what is appropriate for them.

Mental Health Resources for Racial Minorities

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