Literature suggests that African Americans experience greater difficulty in accessing mental health services than Caucasians (Davis & Ford, 2002). Furthermore, African Americans who do gain access often face barriers to accurate mental health assessment and diagnosis, leading to a lack of effective mental health treatment. Many African American adolescents who are in need of mental health treatment fail to receive these services or discontinue between the first and third appointment.
The gap between the need for and utilization of services is especially serious for African American adolescents, who are already at an increased risk for poor health outcomes as a result of poverty, unemployment, poor education, and the consequences of living in troubled communities (Copeland, 2006). Given the long-term risk of failing to provide mental health services to this population, it is crucial to examine barriers to access and utilization in order to eliminate these barriers. A lack of attention to the current disparities will have far reaching negative effects for African American adolescents, their families, and our society resulting in increased stress and disability, homelessness, incarceration, substance abuse, community violence, child abuse and neglect, increased foster care placement, and juvenile delinquency, etc.
There is a significant divide between the African American community and the traditional mental health system. The first step is to identify what those barriers are - it is about culture, language, misperceptions about the nature of mental health and mental illness, systemic discrimination, racism and fear of stigma. The information provided serves to better understand the relationship between barriers to mental health care among African Americans and how going forward we can help to facilitate positive and beneficial outcomes.
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(2011, 03). Multicultural Barriers. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 03, 2011, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Multicultural-Barriers-628159.html
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