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ADAA Board of Directors Statement: ADAA Stands Against Racism

June 4, 2020

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s (ADAA) mission is more critical than ever. Since ADAA’s founding 40 years ago, we have been committed to ensuring that everyone who struggles with an anxiety disorder, depression or PTSD can obtain the resources they need to live healthier and more productive lives. 
 
Over the last few months, we have seen that many of our poorest neighborhoods and communities of color have suffered disproportionately from the spread of COVID-19. Many of these same marginalized communities are also grappling with economic uncertainty, and now with the recent killing of George Floyd following so many other killings of African Americans, with increased mental health issues. ADAA’s mental health experts understand that exposure to these pervasive racial traumas and stressors are detrimental to one’s mental health. We also know that many people of color who suffer from mental health issues also experience less access to care and services.  Read the full statement here.



Facts and Statistics

Although anyone can develop a mental health problem, Black Americans sometimes experience more severe forms of mental health conditions due to unmet needs and other barriers. According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, Black Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population. Black youth who are exposed to violence are at a greater risk for PTSD by over 25%.1 Black Americans are also more likely to be exposed to factors that increase the risk for developing a mental health condition, such as homelessness and exposure to violence. 

In the Black community, people often misunderstand what a mental health condition is and therefore the subject is uncommon. This lack of understanding leads many to believe that a mental health condition is a personal weakness or a form of punishment. Many Black Americans have trouble recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, which leads to them underestimating the effects of mental health conditions. Black Americans may also be reluctant to discuss mental health issues and seek treatment because of the shame and stigma still associated with such conditions in their community.2 

Choosing a Provider

It is important to find a provider who demonstrates cultural competence - which describes the ability of healthcare systems to provide care to patients with diverse values, beliefs and behaviors and taking into account their social, cultural and linguistic needs.3 Unfortunately, research has shown lack of cultural competence in mental health care, which results in misdiagnosis and inadequate treatment. When meeting with your provider, ask questions to get a sense of their level of cultural sensitivity, such as whether they have treated other African Americans, received training in cultural competence, and how they plan to take your beliefs and practices into account when suggesting treatment. Learn more about finding the right therapist

ADAA Member Blog Posts, Webinars and Media Resources:

2020-2021

2017-2019

Personal Stories from our Public Community:

Other Mental Health Resources:

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1. African Americans Have Limited Access to Mental and Behavioral Health Care, APA

2. African American Mental Health, NAMI

3. Becoming a Culturally Competent Health Care Organization, AHA

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