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Latino and Black children and young adults with mental health issues are half as likely as Whites to get mental health care, according to a new study, the Compton Herald reports.
The study, which examined more than 108,000 Latino, Black, and White children and young adults, found that racial/ethnic minorities got a lot less psychiatric care. That includes fewer visits to psychiatrists, social workers, and psychologists, despite consistent rates of mental illness across racial/ethnic groups.
Latino and Black youth also received less substance abuse and mental health counseling.
Study researchers, led by Dr. Lyndonna Marrast of Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine in New York, indicate this could play a role “in why children from these communities end up getting expelled from school or are incarcerated at higher rates than their White or Asian peers,” according to the Compton Herald.
Lack of health insurance, mistrust of healthcare providers, the stigma of mental health care stigma, and cultural competence of providers are among several contributors to this racial/ethnic issue, Marrast said.
“It’s multifactorial,” she said.
Marrast urged several solutions via the Compton Herald:
- Equalize financial access to services via universal health care.
- Expand training opportunities to increase the number of minority mental health professionals.
- Improve training for mental health professionals of all ethnicities so they can better recognize and treat mental health problems in minorities.
- Adopt a less punitive attitude toward youthful misbehaviors, thereby decreasing school expulsions and arrests.
Read the full study here.