This article attempts to shed light on whether racial or ethnic groups receive differential mental health and treatment in the United States. It refers to various research findings of the existence of disparities in mental health and treatment. The author argues that in the United States, racial or ethnic differences exist in children’s mental health care.
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He draws his first argument from the results documented by the National Comorbidity Adolescent Supplement Survey. He points out that there is adequate evidence about discrimination in offering differential mental health and treatment of the young American children, which is based on racial or ethnic lines. For example, from the year 2002 to 2004, only 36% of adolescents with DSM-IV disorders were reported to have received mental treatment (Case 5). The results show that the treatment of adolescents with mental disorders in minority groups is scarce. This comes despite the adjustments made in racial and ethnic socio-demographics. The article looks at racial and ethnic discriminations that exist between the Hispanic and the non-Hispanic people, in regards to mental treatment and cares for mood and anxiety disorders. For instance, the treatment of Attention-Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) shows differences between the two groups (Case 5). However, the trend towards the treatment of drug abuse is non-significant among the minority groups.
In addition, schools and other institutions play significant roles in discrimination of mental treatment. These institutions are less tolerant of substance abuse problems and mental disorders to the minority students (Blacks), compared to the majority students (Whites). Teachers in schools are also to blame for the disparities in mental health identification and treatment (Case 6). The epidemiological data in the article, confirms that teachers respond differently to mental health problems or treatment referral, which is usually along ethnic and racial lines. They do not bother to identify internalizing disorders among the Black. On the contrary, they are interested in White adolescents only (Case 6). However, there is less disparity with respect to how teachers identify the Hispanic and non-Hispanic Whites based on severe and external disorders.
The article looks at the possible causes of differential mental treatment. From data reviews, the author points out that cultural preferences and attitudes towards mental treatment play an important role in mental treatment disparities amongst different groups. In addition, the parental attitude towards ADHD and its corresponding treatment amongst the minority groups is pointed out as a primary cause of these differences (Case 6).
The author finalizes his article by providing solutions to the mental health and treatment differences amongst many groups. The identification and treatment improvements in the article, show how the differences in mental health and treatment can be addressed (Case 6). In addition, supporting culturally competent care, through proactive efforts can reduce children’s mental health and treatment discrimination (Case 6). More so, the availability of information material and services about mental health and treatment goes a long way in reducing the disparities. These resources ease the hardships that minority groups go through while pursuing differential mental health and treatment. Clinicians and other mental health practitioners should also be attentive to people’s understanding of mental health problems and treatment (Case 6).
Case, Brady G. “Impact of racial/ethnic differences on child mental health care.” The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter 28.9 (2012): 4-6.