This brief interactive tool provides insights about the way racial discrimination impacts individual and public health across different aspects of life. (7-minute interactive exercise)
You may have heard about the wealth gap, but have you heard about the wealth-health gap?
Socioeconomic status and institutional racism lead to disparities across living conditions, limit access to quality and affordable health care, and contribute to chronic stress. These factors and others lead to shorter life spans and a higher likelihood of adverse health outcomes for people living in low or very low child well-being areas where the majority are people of color. Many feel racial discrimination is a thing of the past, but people of color continue to experience both subtle and overt forms of discrimination.
Racism in healthcare is both interpersonal & systemic.
Symptoms of anxiety and depression have been on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. There continues to be a racial gap in experiencing mental health issues and getting treatment for them. Gail Mattox, MD, a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Morehouse School of Medicine, says “There’s really no health without mental health.”
“In 1968, the American Psychiatric Association took deliberate steps to change the definition of schizophrenia to include aggression where it had previously not… The anger of Black men was portrayed as a byproduct of mental illness, rather than a fight against oppression. New drugs intended to target the angry Black man were advertised to psychiatrists.” (The Washington Post)
Today, we are both over-diagnosing some mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, and under-diagnosing others, such as depression, mistaking symptoms for criminality that deserve punishment, rather than treatment.
In 2018, 58.2 percent of Black and African American young adults 18-25 and 50.1 percent of adults 26-49 with serious mental illness did NOT receive treatment. (Mental Health America)
“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”— Joseph Pearce
What have you been wrong about in the past? Consider your assumptions about health and healthcare.
Can you open your thinking up to see health issues not just as a problem of personal care and behaviors, but also as a problem of access to services, treatment practices among medical practitioners, and policies about the social determinants that affect health?