Addressing mental health disparities | The Voice of Philadelphia

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most difficult and confusing experiences in my life. I was forced to start a new home job while also taking care of my three-year-old child. My husband and father had to go to work during the pandemic, so I worry about their health and safety every day.

Some days are worse than others, and I will never forget a particularly challenging day. My husband immediately noticed that I was depressed and overwhelmed after returning home. When he tried to comfort me, I just wanted to be alone. Once I calm down, he suggested that talking to a therapist might help relieve my stress.

I was So angry. Without even thinking about it, I yelled: “I don’t need help. I’m not crazy!”

After a few minutes, I started to think about what I said and regretted it. First of all, I feel sorry for my husband who I just want to help. Secondly, I want to know why my reaction is so negative. I am not against mental health support.

Then it hit me: I was just repeating what I heard a lot when I was growing up.

Mindset around mental health

Growing up in a Hispanic family, mental health is not a matter of discussion or priority. I was expected to “strengthen” and deal with my problems or problems on my own. Unlike going to a doctor for physical illness, seeking mental health help is not an option.

In fact, mental health treatment is regarded as a “gente que son loco” (lunatic) thing. To be honest, many people in my family ignore mental health experts at all.

Similarly, my husband-he is African American-grew up with a negative view of seeking mental health help. Obviously, this is not something his family is talking about. He was taught that he needed to “step forward” whenever he encountered difficulties or challenges.

As we grow older (hope to be smarter), we all realize that mental health is important! It is an important part of your overall health and needs to be taken care of. Most importantly, there is no shame in seeking and getting help-this is what we will teach our daughter.

Let us speak with facts

In many minority groups, talking about mental health remains a shame. Most importantly, the inequality in mental health care in ethnic minority communities makes things more difficult.according to

Bureau of Healthcare Research and Quality
, The racial and minority ethnic groups in the United States are:

• Less likely to get mental health services
Unlikely to use community mental health services
More likely to use the emergency department
More likely to receive lower quality care

Poor access and quality of mental health care results in

Poor mental health outcomes
, Including suicide, in ethnic and minority populations.

To commemorate National Minority Mental Health Month, it is time to start breaking down these barriers, especially in minority communities.Let’s start with some

Break the mental health myth

myth: Mental health issues will not affect me.

Mental health problems are actually very common and can affect anyone.about

One in five people will have mental health problems

In a certain year. These include anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. Although some diseases have genetic risks, mental illness can affect people of all ages, races, and income levels, regardless of family history.

A person or

Mental health or mental illness


People who are generally mentally healthy may experience emotional problems, behavior changes, or strained and unhealthy relationships with others. A person diagnosed with a mental illness may experience clear moments and be powerful. The existence of disease does not always hinder a person’s ability to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life.

myth: Mental illness is

Signs of weakness
If they work hard enough, people with mental health problems can get out of trouble.

Mental illness is not caused by personal weakness or laziness, nor is it cured by positive thoughts or willpower.

Mental illness causes pain, does not go away on its own, and is a real health problem. It needs proper treatment to get better.

myth: Spirit

The disease is not real

No one would choose to have a mental illness, just as no one would choose to have a physical illness. The causes of mental health conditions have been thoroughly researched, and they are real. For anyone with a mental illness, untrained observers may not always be able to see their specific symptoms. It can be challenging to relate to what a person with a mental health condition is experiencing, but this does not mean that their condition is not real.

myth: People with mental health problems are

Violent and unpredictable

Most people with mental illness have no tendency to violence. You may know someone with mental health problems, or even realize it, because many people with mental health problems in our community are very active and productive members.

Take action

Now that you know the facts, there is no need to endure silently or feel ashamed. It is important to talk about mental health to eliminate stigma, and more importantly, to consider mental health as part of overall health.

Get help now

You are not alone-none of us are perfect. We have all experienced moments of mental health distress. The important thing is to get help when you need it.

If you continue to experience pain, the important thing is

Realize that you may need professional help.

Treatment. In some cases, medication may help treat your condition. If you don’t know where to start, please contact your primary care provider.

If you or someone you know needs immediate support,

Healthy Mind Philadelphia

A list of resources has been compiled to help you gain professional, peer, social and community support. Check it out, because your mental health is very important! Spread the word.

Addressing mental health differences

As the largest health insurance organization in the region, Independence Blue Cross (Independence) is committed to addressing the health disparities and social determinants of health that affect minority communities. The following are some of the measures Independence has taken to eliminate health disparities in the entire community:

• Understand your thoughtsIndependence launched a new mental health public awareness campaign to educate the community about the symptoms of depression and anxiety, and how to help themselves and others during these emotionally challenging times. The event pays special attention to millennials (25-40 years old), one third of whom have behavioral health problems.

• This

Well City Challenge
. Greater Philadelphia and the Independent Economic Union launched the Well City Challenge to address the health and mental health challenges of millennials in Philadelphia.

This content was originally published on

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About Veronica Serrano

Mother. wife. TV fans. Shopaholic. In short, this is who I am-outside of work. As a copywriter of IBX, I like to understand the health and wellness topics I write, and hope to incorporate more healthy habits into my daily life, so that I have the energy to keep up with my baby girl.

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