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No matter what your ethnic background, these are three of the top mental health problems.

People of all races, religions and ages experience mental health issues. These conditions don’t discriminate. However, some minorities may be affected by discrimination, racism or acts of aggression and inequality that make it more likely they’ll develop some of the most common mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Not only are some ethnicities more likely to experience these mental health conditions, but in some communities, there is not enough access to mental health services. Or services may not adequately reflect cultural norms or address language barriers. Even if treatment is available, there may be a stigma about mental health conditions in some communities, causing people to ignore any problems and not seek professional help when they need it.

Here are some of the more common mental health issues affecting minorities:

Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions in the U.S., affecting people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. They are defined by having continual feelings of fear or worry. Common symptoms include racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, irritability, restlessness and difficulty sleeping. Some people feel anxious about something specific, such as social situations, or may have an intense fear (phobia) connected to a particular thing. Others find their anxiety is more generalized, causing them to be fearful or worry about many aspects of their lives.

Depression

Another common mental health condition is depression. This may cause you to feel sad, lonely or hopeless. You may lose interest in things you used to enjoy and may lack energy, lose your appetite (or eat too much) or experience aches and pains. Depression can range from mild to severe. Some people only experience it due to a particular trigger, such as when the seasons change, after giving birth or following a significant loss or life disruption. Others find their depression is not triggered by anything specific and is just a part of their everyday life.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Although many people associate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with people in the military, this disorder can occur in anyone who has experienced a trauma. Since minorities are at a greater risk of being affected by trauma due to discrimination and other factors, they’re also more likely to develop PTSD. This condition has similar symptoms to anxiety, such as racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, irritability, restlessness and difficulty sleeping. People with PTSD may also have nightmares and flashbacks and may avoid reminders of the trauma.

How to Find Help for Mental Health Issues

Although you may think symptoms of mental illness are a normal part of your culture or a sign of weakness, the fact is that mental illness is very common among all communities and the best thing you can do is to seek professional help. By doing so, you can get a proper diagnosis and may start to feel better after receiving counseling, therapy and/or medication.

If you’re not sure where to get help, ask your primary care doctor. You can also get information about mental health services from schools, as well as religious and community organizations. Additionally, information and resources can be found online at the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the National Institute of Mental Health. If you are in crisis or are considering suicide, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.


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Date Last Reviewed: May 17, 2024

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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