Mental Health Inequities and Disparities among African American Adults in the United States: The Role of Race

Elizabeth Armstrong-Mensah, Harshita Patel, Priyanka Parekh, Crystal Lee


Although the rate of mental illness among African Americans and Whites in the United Sates are similar, African Americans tend to have the worst mental health outcomes in the country. This is due to several inequities, particularly those associated with race such as discrimination, provider bias, stereotyping, weak socio-economic status, limited access to health insurance, poor quality mental health care, treatment gaps, culture, and stigma related to mental health care. Recognizing that the differences in mental health outcomes among minority populations in the United States is also driven by race and not just by brain chemistry, or environmental exposures, and developing strategies that target the issue of race, will not only lead to increased access to mental health services among African Americans, but will generally improve upon their mental health status. This article discusses mental health disparities among African Americans, the inequities that cause them, and strategies for addressing the disparities with a focus on race.

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Copyright (c) 2020 Elizabeth Armstrong-Mensah, Harshita Patel, Priyanka Parekh, Crystal Lee

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