How Mental Health Professionals Can Support the Black Community during Black History Month and Beyond

By: Raven Garza (she/they)

A black family sits in a mental health professional's office



February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black individuals throughout history. For our team at the South Southwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC), it’s also an opportunity to reflect on the state of mental health care among the Black community.
Although Black Americans have similar rates of mental health challenges compared to the general population, there are significant disparities when it comes to mental health care services. Here are important statistics from the American Psychiatric Association:

  • Black Americans often receive poorer quality of care and lack access to culturally competent care
  • Approximately 11% of African Americans are not covered by health insurance, compared with about 7% for non-Hispanic whites
  • Only one in three Black Americans who need mental health care receive it
  • Compared with the general population, Black Americans are less likely to be offered either evidence-based medication therapy or psychotherapy
  • Compared with whites, Black Americans are:
    -Less likely to receive guideline-consistent care
    -Less frequently included in research
    -More likely to use emergency rooms or primary care (rather than mental health specialists)

While mental health services for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities have improved in recent years, there’s still work to be done. A few ongoing barriers to care include the stigma associated with mental illness, distrust of the healthcare system, and lack of culturally competent providers.
We’ve compiled a list of resources to help mental health professionals better support folks in the Black community, including materials you can share with people seeking more research or education.


Resources from the MHTTC network

More insightful resources

Find more resources from the MHTTC network

We hope these resources help you feel better prepared when working with folks within the Black community. The South Southwest MHTTC shares new webinars, presentations, worksheets, and more year-round.
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