Five key findings on mental health and substance use disorders by race/ethnicity

Summary

In the two years since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are still grappling with the worsening situation Psychological health associated with the prolonged impact of the pandemic, including social distancing, income loss, death and disease. in 2020, 33% Among all unhealthy adults, they reported having a mental illness or substance use disorder. drug overdose Deaths have increased over time – particularly during the pandemic – and these increases have disproportionately affected people of color. After a period of increases, suicide deaths It slowed in 2019 and 2020, although it increased faster among people of color than among white people. Drawing on a series of recent KFF analyzes, this summary presents five key findings on mental health and substance use concerns by race/ethnicity. Find:

  • Suicide mortality rates rise faster among people of color than their white counterparts.
  • The recent rise in drug overdose-related deaths has disproportionately affected people of color.
  • Overall rates of mental illness and substance use disorder are lower for people of color than for white people, but may be underdiagnosed among black people.
  • People of color have experienced deteriorating mental health during the pandemic.
  • People of color face disproportionate barriers in accessing mental health care.

Rapidly increasing death rates from suicide and drug overdose among people of color, along with the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, underscore inequality in access to mental health care and treatment and highlight the importance of focusing equity in diagnosis, care, and treatment.

Main results

rates death by suicide They rise faster among people of color than their white counterparts.

Between 2010 and 2020, Black, American Indian, or Alaska Native (AIAN) people experienced the largest increase in death rates by suicide (Figure 1). White and white people continue to have the highest suicide mortality rates of all other racial and ethnic groups (23.9 and 16.8 per 100,000 in 2020, respectively). However, people of color experience the largest increase in death rates from suicide. AIAN and blacks experienced the largest absolute increases in suicide mortality rates (7.0 and 2.3 percentage points, respectively) from 2010 to 2020 (Figure 1). Furthermore, blacks and Latinos had greater increases in suicide mortality rates than white people over the same period (43% and 27%, respectively, compared to 12%).

Between 2010 and 2020, adolescent suicide-related mortality rates more than doubled for Asian adolescents and nearly doubled for black and Hispanic adolescents (Figure 1). However, similar to the overall population data, AIAN adolescents accounted for the highest suicide rates, three times more than white adolescents (22.7 versus 6.3 per 100,000). in contrast, blackHispanic and Asian teens had lower rates of suicide deaths than their white peers. suicide It remains the second leading cause of death among adolescents in general.

The recent rise in associated deaths Drug overdose It disproportionately affected people of color.

Drug overdose mortality rates have risen across all racial and ethnic groups in recent years, but these increases have been greater for people of color than for their white counterparts. Reflecting these increases, drug overdose mortality rates among blacks have exceeded those of white subjects by 2020 (35.4 vs 32.8 per 100,000) (Figure 2). However, subjects in AIAN continued to experience the highest drug overdose mortality rates (41.9 per 100,000 in 2020) compared to all other racial and ethnic groups. Among teens, drug overdose deaths are almost double In 2020 it hits teens of color disproportionately. Moreover, the number of deaths from suicide can be underestimated due to wrong ratings Like a drug overdose. Fentanyl-related deaths, which have caused many deaths from drug overdoses during the pandemic, may be disproportionately influential. black communities.

White people still account for the largest percentage of drug overdose deaths, but people of color account for an increasing share of these deaths over time. Between 2015 and 2020, drug overdose deaths declined among whites, while at the same time death shares rose among blacks and Latinos. As a result of this increase, blacks accounted for a disproportionate share of drug overdose deaths compared to their share of the total population in 2020 (17% vs. 13%) (Figure 3). Similarly, reflecting an increase in deaths during this period, Hispanic teens account for a disproportionate share of drug overdose deaths compared to their share of the population as of 2020 (30% vs. 25%). These recent trends are contributing to emerging disparities in drug overdose deaths among some people of color, which may worsen if they continue.

Overall rates of mental illness and substance use disorder are lower for people of color than for white people, but may be underdiagnosed among black people.

In 2020, people of color were generally less likely to report any mental illness or substance use disorders than their white peers. Just over a quarter of blacks (28%) and Hispanics (27%) of non-adults reported having Mental illness or substance use disorder in 2020, compared to 36% of non-white white adults (Fig. 4). Although general mental health and substance use disorders were lower in people of color, other research has found that the proportion of unhealthy adults who reported moderate or severe anxiety and/or depression was similar among whites (9%), and blacks (9%), and Hispanics. (8%) grown ups In 2019. Between teensSymptoms of anxiety and/or depression were higher among white (19%) and Hispanic (15%) and lower among black (11%) adolescents in 2020.

Lack in culturally sensitive detect Tools Detects mental illness, along with structural barriers may contribute to underdiagnosis Mental illness among people of color. Furthermore, symptoms of mental illness or substance use disorder are more likely to be among people of color Named as vandals or criminals compared to their white counterparts. This practice can occur in childhood where behaviors Which may be described as a mental health concern among white children is considered disruptive and punishable among children of color and may encourage underreporting of mental health problems. This classification may, in turn, result in a disproportionate number of blacks turned In the justice system rather than treatment centers.

People of color have experienced deteriorating mental health during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected people of color in multiple ways that contribute to poor mental health (Figure 5). Compared to their white peers, people of color experienced higher rates of COVID-19 infection and death And more financial challenges, including Difficulty paying family billsduring a pandemic, which could negatively affect their mental health. KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Surveillance Survey data As of late 2021, at least half of white, Hispanic, and black adults found that the pandemic had negatively affected their mental health. Additional scan data KFF It indicates that the mental health of Hispanic parents has been particularly negatively affected. At least six out of ten black and Latino parents say the stress associated with the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health compared to less than half of white parents (Figure 5). additional, black And the Asia People have reported negative mental health effects from increased racism and violence against blacks and Asians during the pandemic.

People of color face disproportionate barriers in accessing mental health care.

In the lead-up to the pandemic, people of color faced disparities in accessing and receiving mental health care, which may have been exacerbated during the pandemic. While the white arrows, black and adult Spaniards are similar mentioned Moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and/or depression In 2019, a significantly greater proportion of black adults (53%) with these symptoms did not receive care compared to their white counterparts (36%) (Figure 6). else Research It shows that Hispanics with mental illness or substance use disorder are less likely to receive treatment compared to the general population.

People of color face increasing barriers to accessing mental health care due to a combination of factors both within and outside the health care system. Research indicates that structural inequality They may contribute to disparities in the use of mental health care, including a lack of health insurance coverage and financial and logistical barriers to accessing care, stemming from broader inequalities in Socio-economic factors. These barriers may have been exacerbated by the pandemic, which has been disproportionate Negative financial effects on colored people.

Shortage For a diverse workforce in mental health care, Absence of culturally informed treatment options, and Stereotypes And the discrimination Associated with poor mental health may also contribute to limited mental health treatment among people of color. According to the American Psychological Association’s Center for Workforce Studiesalthough Hispanic and black people make up 30% of the US population, they made up only 9% of the psychology workforce as of 2015. This may be a barrier to accessing and keeping treatment as up-to-date. study found that racial/ethnic compatibility between patients and caregivers plays an important role in patients having positive experiences with their caregivers. Furthermore, some societies have concerns about the stigma associated with mental illness. for example, black adults They may view mental health conditions as signs of personal weakness, worry about discrimination, and feel shame in acknowledging their mental health concerns.

I look ahead

Drug overdoses and deaths from suicide among people of color are on the rise, highlighting inequalities in access and treatment for mental health and substance use disorders. A diverse behavioral health workforce, culturally sensitive screening tools, culturally competent care, and reducing structural barriers to care can help improve quality of care and address long-term barriers to mental health care for people of color. Furthermore, recognizing the effects of racism, discrimination, and adverse childhood experiences on both physical and Psychological health Can play a role in development cultural science responses to these events. Meanwhile, many people of color continue to suffer from the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including deteriorating mental health, which may persist even as the epidemic subsides.

This work was supported in part by the Well Being Trust. The KFF retains complete editorial control over all policy analysis, surveys, and journalism activities.

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