By Leslie Holley, MA, LCPC, NCC
April is National Minority Health Month
This month is focused on raising awareness about the importance of improving the health of racial and ethnic minority communities while reducing health disparities. National Minority Health Month builds awareness around the disproportionate numbers of premature death and illness in people from minority groups.
Black Americans are 2.3 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than their white counterparts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, long-standing health, economic and social inequalities have led to this disproportionate death rate.
Additionally, systematic racism covers multiple facets of black life, including health care, housing, police brutality, and the criminal justice system. Studies show that Black women in the United States experience unacceptably poor maternal health outcomes, including disproportionately high rates of death related to pregnancy or childbirth. Black women are three to four times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than white women. Redlining in housing discrimination has been well documented, which comes from government maps that outlined areas where Black residents lived and were therefore deemed risky investments. Furthermore, police kill more than 300 black Americans-at least a quarter of them unarmed-each year in the USA. Lastly, a Black person is five times more likely to be stopped without cause than a White person. These multiple stressors decrease one’s immune system health, said Dr. Stephanie Mayfield Gibson, director of the U.S. COVID-19 Response Initiative for Resolve to Save Lives. These events might have spillover effects on the mental health of people not directly affected.
This National Minority Health Month, let's focus on encouraging racial and ethnic minority communities to identify the signs and symptoms of poor mental health and get the help the community needs. Here are a few steps to consider:
Physicians and mental health counselors must spend more time with their clients to improve health care outcomes. The interaction with the client must be enthusiastic, motivated, and responsive to their needs. Additionally, fostering this relationship can improve self-efficacy in clients. Self-efficacy is one's belief in one's ability to accomplish certain tasks. One's sense of self-efficacy plays a significant role in how one approaches goals, tasks, and challenges regarding one's health.
Early detection and intervention are recognizing the warning signs of a mental health challenge and acting before it worsens. When you realize the early signs and symptoms of a mental health challenge, getting help from a counselor or medical professional may be easier before it worsens. Studies have shown that proper care and treatment can aid in someone making a complete recovery from a mental health challenge. Early detection and intervention can also save someone increased stress, prevent additional serious symptoms from developing, and reduce the likelihood of problems with work, family, and school.
Physical Health = Mental Health
If your mental health is good, you have better outcomes for being physically healthy. Studies show that having a positive outlook on life can reduce the risks of heart attacks and strokes and happiness helps reduce levels of inflammation in the body. Additionally, when mental health starts declining, physical health can follow. Research suggests depression is linked to cancer, chronic pain, thyroid problems, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis. Healthy mental health can go a long way toward helping someone live a healthier, enjoyable life.
For mental health support services, we are here to help. Contact us today.
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