Delving into Disparities: An Examination of American Mental Health
Access to quality mental health care is not equally enjoyed by all Americans. There are a multitude of factors that have created this disparity. Factors such as cost of care are easy to intuit. However, there are many other contributors to disparity. These contributors can be subtle. Often, they are only demystified through careful examination of social, economic, and legal elements. This article seeks to demystify some of the various causes of mental health disparities in the U.S. This will be done be through a multifaceted inspection. Variations in the rates of care will be illuminated. Particular focus will be given to minority populations who typically underutilize mental health services. Cultural views inform how individuals view psychiatric illness. Indeed, dismissive attitudes often form in a cultural context. This, along with stigma, may prevent minority populations from seeking care. Furthermore, society (as a whole) perception of psychiatric illness has ramifications as well. Laws regarding mental health often reflect the public zeitgeist. Therefore, this article will emphasize key legislation as well. By doing so, this article will add fundamental perspective to this complex, dynamic, and often neglected disparity.