Health Disparities In Ohio

Mental illness does not discriminate-it affects people of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds. While mental illness is widespread, there is a huge disparity in the treatment and quality of care underrepresented populations receive versus Caucasians.

Barriers to care for the underrepresented populations include income, stigma, health care providers unaware of treatments or managed care, according to the Centers for Disease and Control Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities (OMHD).

For example:

  • African Americans are more likely to experience a mental disorder than their white counterparts, but are less likely to receive treatment (SAMSHA Surgeon General’s Report).
  • Culture biases against mental health professionals and health care professionals in general prevent many African Americans from accessing care due to prior experiences with historical misdiagnoses. inadequate treatment, and a lack of cultural understanding; only 2% of psychiatrists, 2% of psychologists and 4% of social workers in the U.S. are African American. (NAMI)
  • Among Latinos with mental disorders, fewer than 1 in 11 contact mental health care specialists, while fewer than 1 in 5 contact general health care providers.(NAMI)
  • Tragically, due to lack of cultural knowledge, Latino youth with mental illness are generally misdiagnosed as having anger problems or just conduct disorders. (NAMI)

In Ohio, it is imperative to be aware of mental health disparities, especially since 15 percent of the African American population is uninsured, while 40 percent live in poverty. More than 30 percent of Ohio’s Hispanic population is uninsured as well, leaving them unable to access mental health care.

Links:
National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities
Eliminating Disparities in Mental Health: An Overview from NAMI
African American Community Mental Health Fact Sheet from NAMI
Latino Community Mental Health Fact Sheet from NAMI
Health Services in SE Ohio
Medline Plus: Comprehensive Resource for Health Disparity Information
Multiethnic Advocates for Cultural Competency -Assessment Resources
Ohio: Percentage of Adults Reporting Poor Mental Health by Race/Ethnicity, 2007
Mean mentally unhealthy days by Race from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
 

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