July is Minority Mental Health Awareness

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month Coincides with 10th Anniversary of U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health: Culture, Race and Ethnicity

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month began on Friday, July 1, offering an opportunity to civic leaders and national and local media to spotlight mental health issues affecting African American, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Latino and Native American communities. This year's observance comes ten years after the U.S. Surgeon General published the report Mental Health: Culture, Race and Ethnicity in August 2001.

Michael Fitzpatrick, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), said "One in four Americans experiences mental health problems in any given year. Diverse minority communities are no exception." The 2001 Surgeon General's report warned that minorities: were less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for mental illness; have less access to mental health services; often receive poorer quality health care; are underrepresented in mental health research. "Ten years later, the same problems remain," Fitzpatrick said. "The mental health care system needs to make greater progress for all of the people who make up our nation."