The reasons for these health disparities are complex and poorly understood, but may largely reflect socioeconomic differences, differences in health-related risk, access to health care, environmental degradation, and direct and indirect consequences of racism and discrimination Williams, , p. National data reveal that over the past fifty years, the health of both minorities and white persons has improved in the United States as evidenced by increases in life expectancy and declines in mortality National Center for Health Statistics, Despite steady improvement in the overall health of the U.
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Health Disparities Essay
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Racial Disparities in Healthca. Continue reading this essay Continue reading Page 1 of The older people of some ethnic groups view mental health detriments as a norm that comes along with old age. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Utilization of Mental Health Care One of the key factors that contribute to the disparities of mental health care among racial and ethnic groups is the differing percentages within populations that actually seek and utilize mental health services with respect to each group. Furthermore, there are specific motives that cause an individual or group of individuals to seek mental health treatment or, alternatively, decide against it.
Their findings accentuated the decisions of racial and ethnic groups on whether or not to seek mental health care based on attitudes and perspectives of mental care. The study compared minority groups to non-Hispanic whites and the rates at which each group sought treatment. Shim et al. It was concluded that African-Americans, Hispanics, and Latinos had a more positive attitude and greater willingness towards seeking mental health services, and therefore obtained a greater amount of care with respect to non-Hispanic whites.
Coinciding, the same minority groups had lesser reported embarrassment of seeking treatment. Alvidrez, Shumway, Morazes, and Boccellari provide results of a study they conducted explicitly on females seeking mental treatment following sexual assault victimization.
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- What are Health Disparities?.
The study examined a sample group of women of white, black, Latin, or other ethnicities that had been sexually assaulted. The focus was turned to women who pursued mental health treatment offered free of charge after they had been a victim of sexual assault. The conclusions of this research draw to the fact that even though all ethnic groups sampled were equal in terms of needing mental health attention after such a tragic event, black women were less likely to follow up their assault with mental care than white women.
Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Treatment and Quality of Mental Health Care Two key areas thus far have been the general foci of racial disparities in mental illness treatment; accessibility and utilization. Perhaps the subject matter that contributes to the most substantial differences in mental health services among race is the actual treatment itself; the inconsistencies in quality of care by the provider. Data obtained from the National Comorbidity Survey from exposes greater disparities in mental health care quality pertaining to ethnic minority groups relative to whites Ault-Brutus, A large part of these said disparities can be paid due to bias.
Bias is pinpointed to be the main source of detriment in areas such as questionable diagnostic practices and limited provisions of optimum treatments.
A particular article written by Snowden describes bias in health care, the different levels it is derived from; practitioners, practice networks, and communities, and how it negatively effects certain ethnic groups. Further elaborating on this view, McGuire and Miranda say that if a mental health practitioner exhibits some bias towards an individual of a certain ethnicity they impose discriminatory actions by exerting less effort in diagnosis and treatment.
Their inappropriate expectations lead to inappropriate decisions and actions.
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Ault-Brutus suggests that more specified programs and policies should be implemented in order to increase mental health care quality among individuals from racial-ethnic minorities. Conclusion: Preventative Measures to Eliminate Disparities among Races and Ethnicities in Mental Health Care It is apparent that there are several underlying factors contributing to the disparities in mental health care among differing racial-ethnic groups.
Accessibility to mental health care can attribute to the varying levels of health care received between minority and majority groups. The utilization or perceived usefulness of mental health treatment can also contribute to higher or lower levels of mental health care.
Where some ethnic groups see it necessary that mental help be easily attainable, others see it as a trivial service to their own home remedies, traditions, and family support systems. Lastly, and arguably the most significant factor in racial disparities, quality of care administered to patients of different ethnicities can skew the equality substantially.
So how do we go about lessening the gap between health services received by minority groups versus majority groups?
Nancy Grant Harrington
One way is to make sure that the physicians administering professional treatment are aware of the present disparities and that they are making a conscious effort to eliminate negative attitudes geared towards any one racial or ethnic group when performing treatment. In a study by Mallinger and Lambert , random psychiatrists were pulled for observation and questioning on this particular topic.
Most of the studied psychiatrists stated that they were either completely unaware or hardly familiar with the topic of mental health care disparities among racial groups. Other tactics of closing the gap between racial and ethnic groups in regards to mental health care could be to implement plans that target minority groups and publicize the issue of inequality in health services to minority groups.