Mental illness does not discriminate: Nearly 20% of U.S. adults experience a mental illness each year, regardless of race or ethnicity. And while it’s clear that mental health is a crosscutting issue that affects all communities, providing effective services for people of color requires acknowledging and understanding their different lived realities.
Have a “heightened consciousness of how culturally diverse populations experience their uniqueness and deal with their differences and similarities within a larger social context.”
“Use an intersectionality approach to practice, examining forms of oppression, discrimination and domination through diversity components of race and ethnicity, immigration and refugee status, religion and spirituality, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, social class and abilities.”
“Acknowledge their own position of power vis-à-vis the populations they serve and to practice cultural humility.”
“Disrupt the societal processes that marginalize populations” by challenging “institutional and structural oppression and the accompanying feelings of privilege and internalized oppression.”
As the NASW Standards make clear, achieving cultural competence should be viewed as an ongoing process of learning rather than an end goal. For racial and ethnic communities, a commitment to understanding these components can go a long way toward making them feel comfortable in practitioners’ abilities to provide them effective mental health services.
In this piece, OnlineMSWPrograms.com collected resources that have been tailored to the mental health needs of various racial and ethnic groups.
Asian American Psychological Association: organization for professionals that has fact sheets on brain injury, trauma and violence exposure, intimate partner violence, student-adjustment challenges, bullying and suicide.
Asian Pacific Counseling and Treatment Centers: agency based in Los Angeles County, California, that offers mental health counseling online as well as workshops and group activities for the Asian Pacific communities in its service area.
Cambodian Association of America: organization that provides information and programs related to mental health topics such as stressors and their risk factors, meditation, yoga exercises and anger management.
Hispanic/Latino Behavioral Health Equity, SAMHSA: information page from agency that runs the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) for confidential support for those in distress and National Helpline (800-662-4357) for treatment referral and support.
Tribal Affairs, SAMHSA: information on services the government agency provides to Native American communities accompanied by details on the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) and SAMHSA’s National Helpline (800-662-4357).
Resources and Podcasts
All My Relations Podcast: series focused on relationships Native people have with land, ancestors and each other with episodes on topics such as Indigenous feminism, family wellness and mascots.