July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This month’s theme is “Culture, Community, and Connection.” These are the pillars that support and lift up people of color.
To help support and educate, NMC Health is raising awareness about the mental health challenges faced by minorities. We’re also giving you some self-care tips to helpyou feel your best.
Access to Care
Everyone deserves access to health care that respects all of the different backgrounds and needs of those it serves. This includes mental health car.
Unfortunately, many minorities find it difficult to get good mental health care. There may not be any providers. They may not have insurance or they may have a plan that doesn’t provide enough coverage. There may be higher poverty and unemployment rates. Minorities also have a history of injustice and trauma. All of these situations lead to worsened mental health outcomes.
Common Mental Health Conditions
Let’s take a look at common mental health conditions affecting minorities.
- Drug and alcohol use
While people of color may have lower rates of mental illness and substance use disorder, they may be underdiagnosed.
Spot the Signs
If you notice the following signs in yourself or a loved one, please talk to your doctor.
- Feeling sad for at least two weeks
- Eating less or eating more than usual
- Headaches and stomach issues
- Feeling tired
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Not enjoying activities
- Difficulty concentrating
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Take Care of Yourself
While you may not be able to prevent a mental health disorder, healthy self-care goes a long way in helping you manage stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy. Do you think taking a few moments out of your day to focus on breathing is a waste of time? Try it! You may be surprised. Something as simple as that can have a big impact on your health!
Try these other self-care practices to benefit both your physical and mental health.
- Exercise regularly. This can boost your mood, help you sleep better, and reduce your risk of depression and anxiety. Exercise with a friend and you’re also experiencing the social benefits.
- Eat healthy meals and stay hydrated. Your food affects your mood. When you choose healthy options and drink water, you’ll notice a difference in your energy. You’ll have fewer mood swings and you just might find you can focus better.
- Create a sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and rise at the same time the next morning. Remember to turn your devices off an hour before bedtime so you can fall asleep better.
- Be thankful. Grab a journal and write down everything you’re thankful for. Keep a list on your phone if you’re not a pen and paper person. Did you know that this activity alone can help you sleep better, lower stress, and improve your relationships? Now that’s something we can be thankful for!
- Do something relaxing. Do you like to color? Perhaps you have a green thumb and prefer gardening. Or maybe you set aside ten minutes a day to meditate, pray, or focus on your breathing. Try searching for relaxation apps to help hold you accountable.
- Stay connected. Community is so important! Your friends and family can help provide support for you. When we feel connected to others, we feel less anxious. We may feel better about ourselves, too. Win-win!
We Can Make a Change
No, mental health disorders don’t affect just minorities. They affect everyone in one way or another. But minority communities face unique challenges. We can change this!
- Stand up for the mental health needs of everyone, no matter the color of their skin. Advocate for all!
- Talk openly and honestly about mental health. The more we talk about it, the less stigma will be attached to it.
- Do the research and educate yourself. Share your knowledge with others.
- Be aware of how you think and behave. Are you helping to solve the problem?
- Include everyone. Gain insights from all so you can better understand. Then work together to brainstorm and create action plans to break down barriers.
Reducing Your Stress
We know medical bills can cause stress and anxiety. They can also prevent some from seeking the medical services they need.
NMC Health has generous income-based health care assistance program. In fact, if you qualify, you even save up to 100% on your NMC Health costs, after co-pays.