The country’s systematic health and social inequalities predispose some American minorities to mental health issues and substance abuse disorders. This means we need to have treatment readily accessible for everyone for ailments, disorders, and diseases. Ethnic minorities will equal over 50% of the population by the year 2042. Making healthcare available to everyone from any minority proves to be an ever-growing topic. 

Mental Health Among Minorities

The OMH or the US Office of Minority Health advised that mental health continues to be an essential topic. A 2017 study found that 2.5 million young adults from 18-25 suffered from a serious mental illness. Out of that, 7.6% of this group showed to be Asian, another 5.7% were Hispanics, and 4.6% turned out to be non-Hispanic blacks.

Mental Health issues can show themselves in a variety of ways. For some people, this can mean depression, anxiety, or even suicidal thoughts. In 2017 OMH found that 10.5% of young adults from 18-25 had serious thoughts of suicide. Out of this number, 8.3% were non-Hispanic blacks, and 9.2% proved to be Hispanic. Suicide affects not only the user but their families and loved ones. If you notice someone has suicidal thoughts, getting them help can be the best thing to do.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Mental illness not only wreaks havoc with people’s emotions and thoughts, but it can also affect their lives in detrimental ways. Some people turn to self-medication or drug use if they struggle with a mental disorder. The National Institue on Drug Abuse found that at least half the people who dealt with a mental illness also experienced substance use disorder. This makes it imperative that we put more effort into research programs and treatments that help people from all walks of life.

Bases on the 2003 National Survey of Drug Use and Health, 30.6% of African Americans and  27.5% of Hispanic young adults (18-25 years old) reported illicit drug use within the last year. This study also found that Hispanic college students had higher rates of drug use and drug-related problems than their African American and Asian peers. Substance abuse disorder can affect anyone anywhere, but the mental health of minorities is more at risk. Being aware of the people around you can help you identify if someone currently has a mental illness or substance abuse. If you notice strange or not normal behavior, check on them. You may be the first one to realize something is wrong. If they suffer from substance abuse, try to help them identify the substance as some are deadlier than others. 

The Risk of Opioids

With the risk of substance abuse comes the potential of opioid abuse. Misusing opioids can start very quickly as doctors prescribe them for pain. For someone with a mental illness or disorder, this may make opioids an appealing drug choice. One the eastern coast of the United States, opioids have a significant presence. For example, in New Jersey 2018, over 46,802  overdose deaths were due to an opioid overdose.

The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report advised that from 2015 to 2017, all racial groups and ethnicity saw an increase in opioid overdoes. This mainly affected Black male adults in their mid-forties to mid-sixties. The rate increased even further when looking at more populated metro areas. Black males had a higher overdose rate from opioids than other races. We are not sure, however, if any of these men sought treatment or had helped to try and overcome addiction. If they had help, though, there would have been a better chance of avoiding an opioid overdose.

Finding Treatment

If you or someone you know deals with a mental or substance abuse disorder, finding them help is essential. Finding what your loved one needs can assist them in overcoming addiction or mental health problems. Help can include supporting someone with mental health issues. It can mean finding a treatment center for your loved one dealing with substance abuse disorder. Help comes in many shapes and forms. 

Right now, when people search for treatments, they may find Under-representation. Right now, there is a limit to ethnic minorities in clinical trials for substance abuse treatment and mental health. These limits impede procedures from being developed, including help for health disparities. The issue has been an ongoing problem in research for 20 years.  It’s due to this unfortunate statistic that medication trials have the lowest ethnic minority enrollment.  

For these statistics to change, ethnic minorities need to be encouraged to seek treatment. More clinical trials need to be offered to all minorities so that more research can be done. This will help us find better solutions and medications that work for different minorities. By supporting your loved one to get treatment, more data can be done to see more ways of helping people with substance abuse. 

How can I help? 

If your friend asks for help or you assist them than the first thing to be done is to find out what they need. Mental health topics will need to be addressed by a therapist. The best path for someone dealing with substance abuse will be a treatment center. For someone dealing with both issues, two different doctors may have to be contacted. It is important to note that people should not self diagnose themselves. It is essential to see a medical or health professional see you and give their full medical recommendation.

Finding the right doctor may take time, but help your family or friend find the right one that works best. Ask if they have dealt with minorities and talk with them. It is crucial to make sure you feel comfortable and safe when going to a doctor or therapist. If you find that your loved one is dealing with substance abuse disorder, then there are a couple of options for treatment.

Places like Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford offer inpatient and outpatient treatment plans. They also provide state of the art Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), which works well for opioid addiction, other drugs, and alcohol abuse. If you have any questions or want to reach out to Pinelands Recovery Center, please go to their website. They have a fantastic professional staff and look forward to helping you or someone you know overcome addiction!