Race as a Structural Determinant of Mental Health

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In the United States, one in five adults (52.9 million) were living with a mental health disorder in 2020 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2023). According to the CDC (2023), mental health encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being and affects thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Although higher prevalence rates of mental disorders are not typically reported in racialized minority groups due in part to imperfect racial categorizations and measurements, researchers contend that complex social and structural factors, including inequities in the social determinants of health (SDOH), contribute to Black American individuals’ stress and mental health concerns (Burton et al., 2023; Kim & Bostwick, 2020; Millet et al., 2020). In addition, Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black adults are less likely to receive routine treatment for mental health disorders due to several factors, including lack of access to treatment, mistrust, and stigma (National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2023). Moreover, people with mental health disorders o􀅌en receive mental health care in emergency departments (EDs) when routine care is lacking. National data from 2018 to 2020 show that mental health-related ED visits were highest among Black American individuals for substance use, anxiety, and mood disorders compared to Hispanic and non-Hispanic White ED patients (Peters et al., 2023).

Gendered racism
Burton, W.M. & Mumba, M. N. (2024). Race as a Structural Determinant of Mental Health. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 62(2), 3-5. https://doi.org/10.3928/02793695-20240109-01