Race and Mental Health in the United States: The Statistics (2017)

Race and Mental Health in the United States: The Statistics, The Facts (2017)

I read in the US News and World Report article that “Dying Preventable Deaths Suicide, alcohol and drug abuse are raising death rates for white, middle-aged Americans”.By Lloyd Sederer, Opinion Contributor published on Nov. 4, 2015 that.White, middle-aged males aged 45-55 are dying faster than any other group. So that hurts, as a male aged 44. So, that made me think about the question of race and mental health. It turns out that MANY of us need help. Here are the statistics about race and mental health among non-whites in the United States of today:

Latino Mental Health Statistics

From Mentalhealthamerica.net

(http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/issues/latinohispanic-communities-and-mental-health)

Lifetime prevalence rates among Latino Americans born in the U.S. are lower than those for non-Latino whites, vary among ethnic groups, and are higher among U.S.-born Latinos than they are among foreign-born Latinos. According to the 2008 article, “Prevalence of Mental Illness in Immigrant and Non-Immigrant U.S. Latino Groups” [3]:

  • Lifetime prevalence rates are more than 50 percent for non-Latino whites born in the U.S., versus between 30 and 40 percent for Latino populations born in the U.S.
  • Among U.S. born Latinos, Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans have comparable lifetime prevalence rates, around 40 percent, while Cuban Americans and other Latinos have lifetime prevalence rates closer to 30 percent.
  • Among immigrants, Cuban Americans, Mexican Americans, and other Latinos all have lifetime prevalence rates below 30 percent.

Despite these generally lower rates, according to CDC data reported in 2012 [4]:

  • Latino high school males are just as likely to report suicidal thinking as non-Latino whites (10.7 percent versus 10.5 percent), and more likely to attempt suicide (6.9 percent versus 4.6 percent).
  • Latino high school females are more likely to report suicidal thinking than non-Latino white females (20.2 percent to 16.1 percent) , and more like to attempt suicide as well (13.5 percent to 7.9 percent).
  • As the CDC data suggest, young Latino females are nearly twice as likely as males both to think about suicide and to attempt suicide.

Black Mental Health Statistics

From Mentalhealthamerica.net )http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/african-american-mental-health)

According to the US HHS Office of Minority Health [3]:

  • Adult Black/African Americans are 20 percent more likely to report serious psychological distress than adult whites.
  • Adult Black/African Americans living below poverty are three times more likely to report serious psychological distress than those living above poverty.  
  • Adult Black/African Americans are more likely to have feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness than are adult whites.
  • And while Black/African Americans are less likely than white people to die from suicide as teenagers, Black/African Americans teenagers are more likely to attempt suicide than are white teenagers (8.3 percent v. 6.2 percent).

Black/African Americans of all ages are more likely to be victims of serious violent crime than are non-Hispanic whites, making them more likely to meet the diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Black/African Americans are also twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. [4]

Treatment Issues

  • Black/African Americans today are over-represented in our jails and prisons.  People of color account for 60 percent of the prison population. Black/African Americans also account for 37 percent of drug arrests, but only14 percent of regular drug users (illicit drug use is frequently associated with self-medication among people with mental illnesses). [6]
  • Because less than 2 percent of American Psychological Association members are Black/African American, some may worry that mental health care practitioners are not culturally competent enough to treat their specific issues. [7] This is compounded by the fact that some Black/African American patients have reported experiencing racism and microaggression from therapists. [8]
  • Stigma and judgment prevents Black/African Americans from seeking treatment for their mental illnesses. Research indicates that Black/African Americans believe that mild depression or anxiety would be considered “crazy” in their social circles. Furthermore, many believe that discussions about mental illness would not be appropriate even among family. [9]

Asian Mental Health

From mentalhealthamerica.net

(http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/issues/asian-americanpacific-islander-communities-and-mental-health)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [2], in general Asian Americans report fewer mental health concerns than do whites.  However:

  • 18.9 percent of Asian American high school students report considering suicide, versus 15.5 percent of whites.
  • 10.8 percent of Asian American high school students report having attempted suicide, versus 6.2 percent of whites.
  • Asian American high school females are twice as likely (15 percent) to have attempted suicide than males (7 percent).
  • Suicide death rates are 30 percent higher for 15-24 year old Asian American females than they are for white females (5.3 versus 4.0).
  • Suicide death rates for 65+ year old Asian American females are higher than they are for white females (4.8 to 4.5).

William Jiang, MLS is the Author of 63 books, including the bestselling books Guide to Natural Mental Health , 3rd ed and his critically-acclaimed autobiography A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope. You can see a selection of his books about mental and physical health nicely laid out on his blog at http://www.mentalhealthbooks.net