Mental Health Equity Resources

portraits of individuals


Mental illness does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, gender, or identity, with approximately 53 million Americans reporting any mental illness in a year (NSDUH, 2020). Despite the prevalence, less than half of individuals report receiving mental health services. Minority groups often experience disparities in mental health equity and often face unique challenges and barriers in accessing mental health care. The disparities are often attributed to systemic racism, ableism, and mental health stigma. There are multiple strategies that can be implemented to achieve mental health equity such as increasing crisis and community-based services, developing mental health awareness and anti-stigma campaigns, and increasing culturally appropriate services.


Toolkits and Guides:

Training Guide on Structural Competency for Peer Specialists - Structural competency is a term used in health education to describe the ability of health care providers to appreciate how symptoms, clinical problems, diseases and their own attitudes toward their patients are influenced by the social determinants of health. This guide is meant to provide a framework for incorporating structural competency into provider interactions with certified peer specialists and into their interactions with the populations that they serve.

Crisis Care Guide: Mental Health Equity in Underserved Populations - As the future of crisis care in the United States is on the cusp of being transformed, it is important to keep under-served and marginalized populations in mind when championing the changes and improvements to those services. This brief guide serves to highlight the unique struggles and barriers that many different marginalized communities experience when trying to access crisis services, and provides a glimpse into the future of crisis care.


Interactive Data Maps:


On-demand Recordings:
  • Mental Health & Equity in the Southeast - In this webinar recording, Dr. Holden reviews the needs of and equity barriers experienced by underserved and underrepresented populations in the Southeast. She discusses potential strategies to promote wellness, access to healing and resilience among ethnically and culturally diverse individuals.
  • Understanding and Addressing Race-Related Stress & Trauma for Black Americans - In this webinar recording, Dr. Sierra Carter provides an overview of the field of racism-related stress and trauma among Black Americans. Developmental considerations are discussed as well as challenges and clinical issues that arise with identifying racism-related stress or racial trauma symptoms. Methods to identify, process, and heal from racism-related stress and trauma are also explored.
Cultural Humility:


  • Eliminating Mental Health Stigma for Boys and Men of Color - An important step in reducing disparities and expanding access to care is to train educators and mental health professionals to understand the cultural and racial support that men of color need. Another is by leveraging relationships in the community, in particular barbers, to help de-stigmatize the conversation about mental health in a setting men may feel more comfortable talking. In this on-demand recording, Lorenzo Lewis shares about the important work of The Confess Project and their efforts to teach barbers how to be active listeners, how to validate clients' responses, and how to eliminate mental health stigma by using positive language.
    • View this related resource: Confess Project Promising Practice Fact Sheet - The Confess Project of America, which trains community leaders such as barbers and beauticians to offer support and bridge the gap between unmet mental health needs in African American communities, is one emerging practice that may hold promise.
  • Stigma and Identity in Severe Mental Illness: Negative Consequences and Ways to Counter - Public mental health stigma is pervasive and has many negative impacts. One consequence is that it can lead to self-stigma among mental health service users, including people with severe mental illness. In this webinar, Evan Myers, MS, discusses how self-stigma can impact identity development of service users and shares ways that mental health staff can help combat mental health stigma.
    • View this related infographic: Self-Stigma and Identity in Severe Mental Illness - This infographic discusses how self-stigma can impact identity development of service users and shares ways that mental health staff can help combat mental health stigma.


  • Cultural & Structural Competency: Mental Health Equity - This infographic explains the differences between mental health disparities and mental health inequities, and explores how things like structural racism and inequality contribute to mental health inequities.
  • Race-Based Mental Health Equity in the Southeast - This infographic summarizes recommendations for eliminating mental health disparities from the American Psychological Association (APA), describes promising practices in the Southeast (HHS Region IV), and lists additional resources.


School Mental Health
  • Southeast MHTTC School Mental Health Initiative A collaborative effort with the Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity to support school mental health providers as they increase their skills as affirming providers to better support LGBTQ+ students.


MHTTC Network


  • Office of Behavioral Health Equity - Develops and promotes behavioral health equity policy initiatives that strengthen the impact of SAMHSA programs for all, especially, for under-resourced populations.
  • African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence - Through collaboration, training, and technical assistance, the Center is working to transform behavioral health services for African Americans, making them: Safer, More effective, More accessible, More inclusive More welcoming, More engaging, and More culturally appropriate and responsive.


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