Mental Health Care Disparities Among Minority Populations

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Mental Health Care Disparities in Minority Populations
Erin Bertelson
Denver School of Nursing

Mental Health Care Disparities in Minority Populations
Across the country, a steady increase has been noted in the number of patients presenting to emergency departments for psychiatric complaints (Zun, 2014). Patients also attempt to use their primary care doctors to treat their mental illnesses. The mental health care options for these patients are extremely limited, especially for minority populations such as African Americans and Hispanics. One out of four adults in America suffers from some form of mental illness, yet only one out of three of those affected receives treatment (Safran, 2009). Furthermore, patients are routinely misdiagnosed, receive poor quality of care, receive care from providers who have no understanding of their cultures and values, or are not even able to receive care in the first place (Sanchez, 2012). History The lack of mental health care services for minorities is a long-standing problem in the United States. The first time the issue received attention was in 1985, when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report that described serious health discrepancies that minority populations were enduring. In 1986, because of this report, the Office of Minority Health was formed to assist in the reduction of the health care shortages for
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