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July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Tue, Jun 29th, 2010
Posted in Health & Wellness

July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, first designated by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008. Mental illness affects one in four American families and people in diverse communities are no exception.

The U.S. Surgeon General reports that minorities:

* Are less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for their mental illness

* Have less access to and availability of mental health services

* Often receive a poorer quality of mental health care

* Are underrepresented in mental health research

"Unfortunately, disparities in mental health care still prevent people in the African American community from getting the treatment they need. The outcomes of poorer quality of care come at a high cost to our community," said Matthea Little Smith, African American Outreach Director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Minnesota.

"Our goal is to educate people about mental illness, treatment and research, eliminate stigma and prevent economic burden. All people deserve access to quality mental health services."

NAMI offers free educational classes, support groups, and advocacy for children and adults with mental illness and their families. Included are programs tailored to assist African Americans. For information, contact: Matthea Little Smith at 651-645-2948 x108 or 1-888-NAMI-Helps. For more on National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and to access resources, go to

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