CLEVELAND – July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
Studies have found racial minority groups show higher levels of anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental health disorders.
Kia-Rai Prewitt, PsyD, psychologist with Cleveland Clinic, said there are many reasons why that is, including lack of access to health care.
“If they have poor health, then that is also going to have an impact on their mental health, and so if you’re not getting the appropriate treatment for your diabetes for example, it’s natural that you’re also going to have anxiety,” she explained. “If you can’t afford to pay for the prescriptions for the treatments to manage your diabetes, that can also contribute to anxiety.”
Dr. Prewitt said aside from lack of access to healthcare and socioeconomic factors, there’s also a stigma surrounding mental health.
Some people may feel ashamed to seek out treatment or maybe their family members don’t believe in it.
That’s why she believes it’s so important to continue raising awareness about mental health and make resources available in all communities.
She said it’s also important for people to open up to those they trust. You don’t have to suffer in silence.
Another tip she recommends is practicing self-care. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, even just giving yourself some time to relax and watch your favorite show or go for a walk can be soothing.
“It also might be resting, when you need to take a rest and asking for help when you need it. And so if you are used to kind of doing things on your own, asking for help is also another good way of self-care,” she said.
Dr. Prewitt said for those who may not be able to afford therapy or other types of treatment, there are many free resources available online.