Recognizing Minority Mental Health Month

July 21, 2020

NEWTON, Kan. (July 21, 2020) – Minority Mental Health Month is recognized during July. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, minorities are less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for their mental illness, have less access to mental health services and often receive a poorer quality of care, despite the latest statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the U.S. Surgeon General and the CDC: 

  • In 2017, 10.5% (3.5 million) of young adults age 18 to 25 had serious thoughts of suicide including 8.3% of non-Hispanic blacks and 9.2% of Hispanics.
  • In 2017, 7.5% (2.5 million) of young adults age 18 to 25 had a serious mental illness including 7.6% of non-Hispanic Asians, 5.7% of Hispanics and 4.6% of non-Hispanic blacks.
  • In 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death for American Indian/Alaska Natives between the ages of 10 and 34.1. Violent deaths, unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide, account for 75% of all mortality in the second decade of life for American Indian/Alaska Natives.
  • Last year, 49% of Caucasian adults with a mental health diagnosis received treatment, while only 33% of Hispanic adults, 31% of Black adults and 25% of Asian adults sought counseling.

Now, as the world faces a pandemic, feelings of anxiety and stress may become more pronounced, and it is believed that individuals in some racial and ethnic minority groups may respond more strongly to stress. 

While progress has been made in health equity, disparities in mental health care persist.

Jessie Kaye, president and CEO of Prairie View, addresses these disparities and stresses the importance of seeking mental health treatment: “Prairie View is committed to removing barriers to treatment for everyone in our service area. Our mission is to meet the need for behavioral health services of all in our communities. We offer scheduling flexibility, telehealth options, a sliding fee scale, and other forms of financial assistance for those who qualify. Because there are long-standing inequities regarding healthcare for minorities and those contending with other social and economic challenges, it is especially important that we develop ways to remove obstacles to addressing these critical needs.”

To help increase access to mental health services, Prairie View recently implemented same-day therapy services and telehealth services in addition to its 24-hour crisis line. Individuals experiencing a mental health crisis may call 800-362-0180 to speak with a clinician. Sliding fee scale payment options are available for residents of Harvey, Marion and McPherson counties. A free, anonymous mental health screening tool in both English and Spanish can be found at

Prairie View also employs Mental Health First Aid trainers who teach others the signs and symptoms of mental illness and substance use, how to appropriately respond to individuals with mental illness and addiction concerns, and where to turn for help.

For more information about Prairie View’s services or Mental Health First Aid, call 800-992-6292.