Minority Mental Health

Focus on Mental Health Care and Access to Services for Diverse Communities

AHA is increasing efforts to aid hospitals and health systems in reaching out to minorities needing behavioral health help and connecting them with professionals who can best meet their needs. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. are less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to use community mental health services, more likely to use emergency departments, and more likely to receive lower-quality care. In addition to eliminating barriers between mental health professionals and diverse populations, education about mental health treatment and negative stereotypes is also crucial.

We hope you find this information and these resources useful in the continued efforts to make sure all populations receive the highest quality care possible.

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AHA member hospitals and health systems have developed best practices for engaging their communities and making residents aware of available mental health services.

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Educational materials from experts within the AHA about the importance of maintaining quality mental health fitness in diverse patients

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Helpful information from federal government agencies, other organizations and articles focused on improving the health of all individuals

Disclaimer - References and links to organizations outside the AHA are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily constitute endorsements.


    Taking Big Steps for Improving Maternal and Child Health
    In this Spotlight Feature interview, Jean Ricci Goodman, M.D., and Aparna Sharma, M.D., discuss the program’s development and how it’s designed to improve maternal and child health in Loyola’s surrounding communities.

    Expanding Behavioral Health Care Access to Foster Community Wellness
    For residents living in Chicago’s 60623 ZIP code, known as South Lawndale, Saint Anthony Hospital (SAH) Community Wellness Programs have provided a wide variety of free social and health-related services for more than 20 years. The safety-net hospital is committed to delivering high-quality care for those who need it the most, such as immigrant, Hispanic and Black populations, which are disproportionately under or uninsured and more likely to suffer from health disparities compared to their white counterparts.

    IFDHE board chair shares ways to increase behavioral health care access
    Kimberlydawn Wisdom, M.D., senior vice president of community health and equity and chief wellness and diversity officer at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, shares valuable insights and innovations on bridging gaps of inequities in mental health care for communities in-need.

    Innovative Solutions for Delivering Mental and Behavioral Health Care Services
    Kimberlydawn Wisdom, M.D., M.S., IFDHE Board Chairperson, Senior Vice President, Community Health & Equity and Chief Wellness & Diversity Officer,Henry Ford Health System, Detroit answers questions regarding innovative solutions for delivering mental and behavioral health care services.

    Breaking Down Mental Health: Disparities in Access to Mental Health
    This podcast, the first in the Healthy, Equitable, and Resilient Communities series, features Saint Anthony Hospital’s Dr. Arturo Carrillo, manager of the community wellness program and Patrick Brosnan, executive director of Brighton Park Neighborhood Council to discuss the work of the Collaborative for Community Wellness and how this work is advancing the health of communities.


    Blog: 4 Ways to Support Black Women’s Maternal Mental Health Journey
    Postpartum depression (PPD) affects one in eight women; however, the risk is 1.6 times higher for Black women than White women. While the risk may be higher, Black women are less likely to receive help due to factors such as financial barriers, stigma associated with mental health struggles, structural racism and a historical mistrust of the health care system. Maternal mental health symptoms and issues among Black women are often overlooked and under addressed. Here are four ways hospitals and health systems can support Black women’s maternal mental health.

    Blog: Integrating mental health care to improve minority mental health
    By integrating behavioral health into physical care and tapping into community partnerships, hospitals and health systems can develop culturally competent clinical solutions to better serve historically underrepresented individuals, writes Manish Sapra, M.D., executive director of the behavioral health service line at New York-based Northwell Health.

    Podcast: African American mental health clinicians discuss effects of COVID-19 and social injustice
    Communities of color, who over the past year have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, also experienced emotional distress exacerbated by events surrounding the murder of George Floyd. In this AHA Advancing Health podcast, Leon Caldwell, senior director of health equity strategies and innovation for the AHA Institute for Diversity and Health Equity, speaks to Kesha Clarke, director of clinical services at the Philadelphia VA Hospital, and Karriem Salaam, M.D., medical director of adolescent psychiatric services at Friends Hospital in Northeast Philadelphia, about mental health stigma, racialized stress and self-care in communities including health care providers.

    Blog: Destination Justice – Now is the time to move beyond equity to justice ... starting with behavioral health
    In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, events sparked by the murder of George Floyd increased the constant exposure to stress in communities of color, a detriment to one’s physical and mental health, writes Kimberlydawn Wisdom, M.D., senior vice president of community health and equity and chief wellness and diversity officer at Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System, and chairperson of AHA’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity Leadership Council. In this blog in conjunction with July as Minority Mental Health Awareness Month read her call to action to making behavioral health accessible to all.

    Chair File: Stepping Up Support for Minorities’ Mental Health
    Melinda L. Estes, M.D., AHA Chair addresses minority mental health.

    Best Practices to Help Diverse Communities
    In this conversation, Lisa Hinton, Senior Health Equity and Value specialist with the AHA’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity, speaks with a faith-based organization leader and two health care experts on ways they are broadening their health system’s approaches to improving community access to mental and behavioral health services in the Greater Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.

    Blog: The future of minority mental health treatment depends on today
    Raymond Waller, hospital administrator at Ascension Brighton Center for Recovery in Brighton, Mich., and 2020 chair of AHA's Behavioral Health Council, looks at substance use rates, stigma and the lack of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) behavioral health care providers.

    Blog: Hospitals must do better to address minority mental health
    As we mark July as Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, Harsh Trivedi, M.D., president and CEO of Sheppard Pratt Health System based in Baltimore, Md., and a member of the AHA Board of Trustees, writes that hospitals and health systems must improve behavioral health care access for Black, Indigenous and people of color.

    Institute for Diversity and Health Equity
    The Institute for Diversity and Health Equity, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, works closely with health services organizations to advance health equity for all and to expand leadership opportunities for ethnic minorities in health management. We have long believed that promoting diversity within health care leadership and tackling health disparities is critical to ensuring the highest quality of care for everyone.

    Behavioral Health
    Hospitals and health systems provide essential behavioral health care services to millions of Americans every day. The American Hospital Association has a long-standing commitment to support member efforts to deliver high-quality, accessible behavioral health services.

    House subcommittee considers mental health bills
    The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee today held a hearing on 22 bills intended to improve access to mental health services during times of crisis such as COVID-19, including legislation supported by the AHA.

    Mental health resources available for health care heroes
    Marking Mental Health Awareness Month, Robyn Begley, CEO of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership, writes that health care workers already faced burnout, addiction and suicide before COVID-19, and it’s important to tackle these issues now


    NEW SURVEY: Black and Latino Americans Face Greater Mental Health, Economic Challenges from COVID-19 Than White Americans
    A new survey from the Commonwealth Fund reveals the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on Black and Latino people, women, and people with low incomes during the early months of the pandemic. The pandemic has shined a light on existing inequities in the United States and how quickly a crisis exacerbates them.

    The Opioid Crisis and the Hispanic/Latino Population: An Urgent Issue
    This issue brief presents recent data on prevalence of opioid misuse and death rates in the Hispanic/Latino population; contextual factors and challenges to prevention and treatment; innovative outreach and engagement strategies to connect people to evidence-based treatment; and the importance of community voice.

    BPC to Host Webinar on Covid-19’s Effect on Mental Health Access for People of Color
    The BPC notes that as the Covid-19 pandemic has increased mental health and substance use problems, the situation is even worse for Black, Indigenous, and people of color populations, which have long experienced disparities in access to care. This 90-minute webinar will discuss this trend and how integrating behavioral health services with primary care can benefit these patient populations.

    NNED, SAMHSA to Host Roundtable on Addressing Covid-19 and Behavioral Health Needs in Communities of Color
    The event will highlight how faith-based NNED partner organizations are supporting mental health concerns of racial and ethnic minorities and providing opportunities to receive support and connection through faith-based practices and partnerships.

    National Alliance on Mental Illness
    What happens at the intersection of mental health and one’s experience as a member of the Black diaspora? While the experience of being Black in America varies tremendously, there are shared cultural factors that play a role in defining mental health and supporting well-being, resiliency and healing.

    Mental Health America
    The nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all.

    Racial Trauma Is a Public Health Emergency
    What you may not know about Black mental health.

    44 Mental Health Resources for Black People Trying to Survive in This Country

    13 Inclusive Therapy And Mental Health Resources For BIPOC

    Supporting Black LGBTQ Youth Mental Health

    5 Black Mental Health Resources to Fight the Harmful Effects of Racism

    A Black Psychologist's Guide to Talking With Your Children About Race and Police Violence