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Advocates say multicultural communities face barriers to mental health care

Stigma around seeking treatment for mental health problems is a bigger barrier in communities of color. That's according to MaJose Carrasco the director of the Multicultural Action Center at the National Alliance on Mental Illness -- or NAMI.

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Representatives from NAMI say they’re fighting isolation many people living with mental illness experience.

Carrasco says even when treatment is sought, often providers lack the cultural sensitivity needed to give effective care.

“Not only the mental health, the health system in general has not been able to provide equal care to these communities. So, we know from research after research that there’s biases from the provider and the institutional point of view,” she says.

Carrasco believes efforts to recruit more people of color into the behavioral health field can be a partial solution, but all doctors can increase their efforts to reach out to multicultural communities.

A recent government study shows male African-American teens are the group least to receive treatment for depression.