Having access to proper treatments for mental health should be a fundamental human right. However, this is sadly not the case for many who desperately need it. Minorities sadly have many barriers that prevent them from receiving proper assistance for their mental health.
In most instances, minorities do not have English as their first language. But many therapists and doctors mainly speak English and might not be bilingual. This presents a significant barrier to most minorities. While Spanish is a largely spoken second language by many, it might not be spoken fluently by a specialist. This also leaves out a large number of other minorities speaking lesser-known languages. The system is sadly set up to accommodate English-speaking individuals, which leaves many others out of the equation. Even if an individual can find a mental health provider that speaks their language, there might still be existing language barriers that provide a less-than-helpful experience.
One of the largest barriers to providing mental health assistance for minorities is the cultural barrier that exists between the counselor and the individual. Many minorities have experienced traumatizing experiences solely because of the color of their skin or a cultural belief that seems odd to others. If a patient is being seen by someone who cannot identify with their struggles or the discrimination they’ve experienced, they may find it difficult to relay their experiences properly. In fact, some individuals may feel too uncomfortable to talk at all. This obviously does not create a safe space for individuals to receive proper healing and diagnoses.
For some minorities, the cost of mental health services prevents them from ever receiving help in the first place. The cost of care has grown mightily expensive over the years. However, this is a service that so many individuals need in order to be their healthiest selves. With this type of care being so unattainable by so many, it is no wonder that mental health continues to decline in many. Perhaps if these services were offered at a more affordable price point, there wouldn’t be as many barriers to receiving necessary mental health assistance.
Stigma Around Mental Health Issues
In many communities, there is a negative stigma surrounding mental health issues. This stigma has derived over time, and in some cultures, makes individuals feel weak if they need to gain assistance in this way. However, receiving counsel and assistance for mental health should be something that is normalized in all cultures. The sooner this stigma is removed, the more often individuals will actively seek help for the issues they suffer from, thus removing one of the barriers minorities are facing.