July is National Mental Health Awareness Month

Published July 7, 2019

WASHINGTON — During National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in July, the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) will launch a free and accredited e-learning program: Improving Cultural Competency for Behavioral Health Professionals. This new program is part of OMH’s Think Cultural Health E-learning Curricula, which are developed to help build knowledge and skills related to the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (National CLAS Standards).

In addition to the launch of the behavioral health e-learning program, OMH will join partners at the federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial levels to help raise awareness about mental illness and its effects on racial and ethnic minority populations.

Mental Health and American Indians/Alaska Natives

  • In 2014, suicide was the second leading cause of death for American Indian/Alaska Natives between the ages of 10 and 34.1
  • In 2014, suicide was the leading cause of death for American Indian/Alaska Native girls between the ages of 10 and 14.1
  • American Indian/Alaska Natives are 50% more likely to experience feelings of nervousness or restlessness as compared to non-Hispanic whites.
  • Violent deaths – unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide – account for 75% of all mortality in the second decade of life for American Indian/Alaska Natives.2
  • While the overall death rate from suicide for American Indian/Alaska Natives is comparable to the White population, adolescent American Indian/Alaska Native females have death rates at almost four times the rate for White females in the same age groups.

MENTAL HEALTH STATUS:

Serious psychological distress among adults 18 years of age and over, percent, 2013-2014
American Indian/Alaska Native
Non-Hispanic White
American Indian/Alaska Native/
Non-Hispanic White Ratio
5.4
3.2
1.7

Source: CDC, 2016. Health United States, 2015. Table 46.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus15.pdf [PDF | 13.03MB]

 

Percent of population with feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or that everything is an effort, all of the time, among persons 18 years of age and over, 2014
American Indian/Alaska Native
Non-Hispanic White
American Indian/Alaska Native/
Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Sadness
4.4*
2.4
1.8
Hopelessness
2.5*
1.7
1.5
Worthlessness
2.4*
1.5
1.6
Everything is an effort
6.2
5.0
1.2

Source: CDC 2016. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2014. Table A-7.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

Percent of population with feelings of nervousness or restlessness, among persons 18 years of age and over, 2014
American Indian/Alaska Native
Non-Hispanic White
American Indian/Alaska Native/
Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Nervousness, all or most of time
7.4
4.6
1.6
Restlessness, all or most of time
9.2
6.0
1.5

Source: CDC 2016. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2014. Table A-8.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

DEATH RATES:

Age-Adjusted Death Rates for suicide, by sex, race and Hispanic Origin, 2014
American Indian/Alaska Native
Non-Hispanic White
American Indian/Alaska Native /Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Male
16.4
25.8
0.6
Female
5.5
7.5
0.7
Total
10.9
16.4
0.7

Source: CDC, 2016. National Vital Statistic Report. Vol. 65, Num 4 Table 17 and Table 16.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr65/nvsr65_04.pdf [PDF | 4.38MB]

 

Age-adjusted death rates for suicide, by race, 2014
American Indian/Alaska Native
Non-Hispanic White
American Indian/Alaska Native/
White Ratio
10.9
16.4
0.7

Source: CDC, 2016. Health United States, 2015. Table 17.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus15.pdf [PDF | 13.03MB]

 

Death rates for suicide, age, race and Hispanic origin, 2014: Men
American Indian/Alaska Native Men
Non-Hispanic White Men
American Indian/Alaska Native Men/
Non-Hispanic White Men Ratio
15-24 years
23.5
22.4
1.0
25-44 years
26.2
31.7
0.8
45-64 years
15.1
37.1
0.4
65 years and over
13.4
36.1
0.4
All ages
16.4
25.8
0.6

Source: CDC, 2016. Health United States, 2015. Table 30.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus15.pdf [PDF | 13.03MB]

 

Death rates for suicide, age, race and Hispanic origin, 2014: Women
American Indian/Alaska Native Women
Non-Hispanic White Women
American Indian/Alaska Native Women/
Non-Hispanic White Women Ratio
15-24 years
9.6
5.4
1.8
25-44 years
9.7
9.8
1.0
45-64 years
12.6
65 years and over
5.8
All ages
5.5
7.5
0.7

Source: CDC, 2016. Health United States, 2015. Table 30.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus15.pdf [PDF | 13.03MB]

ADOLESCENTS:

Death rates for suicide: Ages 15 – 19, 2014
American Indian/Alaska Native
Non-Hispanic White
American Indian/Alaska Native/
Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Male
31.7
16.6.
1.9
Female
18.2*
4.8
3.8
Total
25.1
10.9
2.3

Source: CDC, 2016. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics
Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). [Accessed 06/20/2016].
http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html

Suicidal ideation among students in grades 9-12, 2015
Percent of students who seriously considered suicide
American Indian/Alaska Native
Non-Hispanic White
American Indian/Alaska Native/
Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
11.5
Women
22.8
Total
20.9
17.2
1.2

Source: CDC, 2016. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. [Accessed 06/20/2016]
https://nccd.cdc.gov/Youthonline/App/Default.aspx

 

Suicidal ideation among students in grades 9-12, 2015
Percent of students who attempted suicide
American Indian/Alaska Native
Non-Hispanic White
American Indian/Alaska Native/
Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
3.7
Women
9.8
Total
15.0
6.8
2.2

Source: CDC, 2016. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. [Accessed 06/20/2016]
https://nccd.cdc.gov/Youthonline/App/Default.aspx

ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE:

Percent of Adults who received mental health treatment or counseling in the past year, 2014
American Indian/Alaska Native
Non-Hispanic White
American Indian/Alaska Native/
Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Total
14.1
18.0
0.8

SAMHSA, 2015. Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health:
Mental Health Detailed Tables. Table 1.22B

Percent of Adults who received prescription medications for mental health treatment or counseling, 2014
American Indian/Alaska Native
Non-Hispanic White
American Indian/Alaska Native/
Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Total
12.7
15.7
0.8

SAMHSA, 2015. Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health:
Mental Health Detailed Tables. Table 1.26B
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/taxonomy/term/6553

NOTE: * Rates based on 20 or fewer deaths may be unstable. Use with caution.


1 CDC. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). [Accessed 06/20/2016]. http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html

2 U.S. Surgeon General, 2001. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44251/

Despite advances in health equity, disparities in mental health care persist. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. are less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to use community mental health services, more likely to use emergency departments, and more likely to receive lower quality care. Poor mental health care access and quality contribute to poor mental health outcomes, including suicide, among racial and ethnic minority populations.

The HHS Office of Minority Health encourages all our partners to educate their community about the importance of improving access to mental health care and treatment and to help break down other barriers such as negative perceptions about mental illness.

Visit this web page during National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month for downloadable materials, events and health resources.

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