INTERSECTIONALITY & MENTAL HEALTH
Intersectionality encompasses the idea that we have more than one identity with a combination of various identity markers such as gender, race, religion, sexuality, etc. These identity markers intersect with one another and shape our experience. Intersectionality pertains to mental health because our mental health oftentimes does not exist separately from identity markers which also may accompany unique life stressors. Our mental health can be impacted by gender, sexuality, age, religion, ethnicity, race, etc.
When having conversations about mental health, including a wide range of narratives on inequality, discrimination, erasure, and violence that marginalized individuals experience are important because they impact mental health outcomes. This interaction of exposure to multiple forms of discrimination may lead to some groups experiencing a synergistic effect of discrimination that is stronger than the effect of experiencing discrimination based on one identity. However, it is also important to understand that our individual identities are not the issue, the problem lies within power systems that cause discrimination and oppression. These power systems can impact mental health outcomes which indicate the importance of having community efforts which fight power systems and advocate for more equitable systems!
Learn more (NAMI Dane County)
DISCRIMINATION & HEALTH DISPARITIES
Racial/ethnic minorities with serious mental illness (SMI) experience significant mental health disparities reflected in diagnostic biases, reduced quality of services, poorer illness outcomes, and lower levels of treatment engagement and adherence. In addition, several sociocultural variables have been identified such as, stigma, mistrust in the behavioral health system, familial support, religiosity/spirituality, and cultural beliefs, which contribute to treatment engagement and adherence (Maura & Mamani, 2017). Furthermore, research has shown that individuals from marginalized racial and ethnic groups are more likely to experience poor mental health outcomes, including higher rates of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicide (American Psychiatric Association).
Overall, It is important to acknowledge health disparities amongst racial and ethnic minorities because these disparities are a significant public health issue. Acknowledging health disparities is a critical step towards promoting health equity. Health equity means that everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve good health regardless of their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or other factors. By acknowledging and addressing health disparities, we can work towards creating a more equitable healthcare system. Also, health disparities are often the result of systemic inequalities and discrimination. By acknowledging and addressing these disparities, we can work towards promoting social justice and reducing inequities in society more broadly.