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National Campaign Targets Mental Health Issues among Cultural Groups

In honor of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has announced its partnership with the Advertising Council to launch a new series of advertisements targeting specific cultural groups that have been underserved for mental health treatment. The public service campaigns that are aimed to open discussions and encourage mental health education among Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, African American, and Chinese American communities will appear in print and television advertisements.

Through its nationally public service advertisement campaigns, SAMHSA hopes to create positive social change regarding cultural stigmas and incite acceptance of mental health issues. In 2008, 6.0% of African Americans, 15.6% of Hispanic/Latinos, 16.2% of Chinese Americans, and 20.7% of American Indians between the ages of 18 to 25 are struggling with a serious psychological condition. Despite the prevalence of psychological distress among these groups, only 44.8% of African Americans, 28.3% of Hispanic/Latinos, 11.2% of Chinese Americans, and 30.6% of American Indians affected by a mental health condition had received any treatment for their mental health problems that year, according to SAMHSA.

However, only 58.8% of all Americans with a mental condition will receive treatment. Even though conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety disorders are rampant throughout the U.S. population, members from these minority groups are much less likely to receive treatment for mental health disorders than white Americans. Providing prevention and intervention strategies to young adult minorities who are struggling with psychological distress is the most effective method of treatment as it will help prevent their condition from worsening or reoccurring with age and help them reach out to friends and family members who are also suffering from mental illness. 

By raising awareness through their social media platforms and advertising, SAMHSA and its advertising partners hope to eliminate social stereotypes that may inhibit cultural minorities who need mental health care, and that members of these American communities will begin openly discussing mental health concerns and supporting those in need to seek proper treatment. Contributing their designs pro bono, SAMHSA’s advertising partners at The Advertising Council–Kang & Lee Advertising, Wing, G&G Advertising, and Grey New York–all agree that bringing attention on mental health issues to these communities has been needed for some time.

SAMHSA’s multicultural public service campaigns can be seen in magazine, newspaper, billboard, and television medias. For more information on these prevention medicine and mental health recovery outreach, visit the following websites sponsored by SAMHSA:

African American community: //www.storiesthatheal.samhsa.gov/

American Indian community: //www.whatadifference.samhsa.gov/Native

Chinese American community: //www.whatadifference.samhsa.gov/Chinese/

Hispanic/Latino community: //www.aceptarignorar.samhsa.gov/

Source: SAMHSA, SAMHSA and the Ad Council Launch National Campaign to Raise Awareness about Mental Health Problems in Hispanic/Latino Communities, July 8, 2010

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