Facts on Mental Health
Higher rates of mental illness have been incontrovertibly linked with poverty and lower socio-economic status. It is widely accepted among mental health professionals that poverty, trauma, isolation produced by cultural and language barriers and other such stressors often compromise mental health and stability. Low-income refugees and immigrants are disproportionately affected by these stressors and vulnerable to their mental health consequences.
Although the need for mental health services among low-income newcomers is likely to be greater than that of the general population, affordable services that are culturally and linguistically appropriate in short supply. In 1999, the US Surgeon General warned that, even more than other areas of health and medicine, the US mental health system is unequipped to meet the needs of racial and ethnic minority populations who are generally considered to be undeserved:
"Without culturally competent services, the failure to service racial and ethnic minority groups adequately is expected to worsen, given the huge demographic growth in these populations predicted over the next decades."
Mental health conditions afflict one in five individuals in the US.
Major depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S.
More than 50% of today's immigrants come from war-torn, poverty-stricken countries.
Although immigrant and refugee populations have a higher rate of exposure to trauma than mainstream Americans, a critical and growing disparity in access to mental health services makes it likely that they will not get the help they need.
Who to Contact
- Ms. Malgorzata Booth