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Access to Mental Health Care for Blacks and People of Color: The Role of Provider Supply and Organization in Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Care

BIPOC support group

The mental health sector in the U.S. isn’t perfect. Extensive studies have shown that some demographic groups are negatively impacted by racial and ethnic disparities. This means that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) may experience cultural barriers, social and economic inequalities, and even reduced access to mental health care.

So how can we help reduce these racial disparities? There are many ways to prevent cultural inequities. In this article, you’ll find out how the specific role of provider supply and organization in mental health care can help balance ethnic discrepancies.

Ethnic Inequities in the Mental Health Care System

Before you learn what can solve cultural disparities, you need to know more about them.

One of the most relevant studies is the 2014 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report. The analysis aimed to examine ethnic and racial inequities between 2008 and 2012. The abstract of the report is the following:

  • Blacks and Latinos had lower chances of having access to mental health treatment for depression. Moreover, the percentages slightly increased from the beginning of the study to the end.
  • In regard to alcohol and drug use, Blacks and Latinos had lower probabilities of finishing treatment. Native Americans also had fewer odds of concluding an alcohol treatment.
  • Black Americans have lower chances of receiving appropriate care, compared to White Americans.

Unsuccessful Measures

In the past decade, organizations tried to solve racial and ethnic inequalities. However, they employed methods that didn’t give significant positive results.


The first possible solution was expanding insurance coverage. Increasing the number of individuals who access behavioral health services doesn’t change the disparities between Black and White Americans.

Furthermore, Blacks have fewer chances of receiving follow-up care. Since socioeconomic disparities affect these groups, BIPOC are less likely to be contacted in case of missed appointments or calls. So, expanding insurance coverage may not be enough to solve racial and ethnic inequalities.

Custom Treatment

To some degree, the mental health system should offer custom cultural and ethnic treatment. Nonetheless, because of the hyper diversity of the U.S. population, providing culturally tailored treatment is challenging for the system and expensive. Customizing programs might not be the most efficient measure.

Successful Measures

The measures previously mentioned should be included in the mental health care package. However, they’re not enough to solve disparities.

The leading practical cause of cultural inequalities is the poor distribution of mental health care providers. Also, some areas have more programs and are better organized. As a consequence, certain ethnic groups are prioritized over others.

According to a study, increasing the number of health care personnel reduced racial disparities. More efficient management of mental health care also helped decrease the expenses of hospitals and clinics.

A New Mental Health Provision

The best way to remove the barriers and obstacles of cultural disparities is a custom care provision. A modern health care program should operate outside clinics and hospitals to reach underprivileged individuals, for example:

  • By targeting minority communities and mobilizing medical structures that can reach poor neighborhoods as well as homeless individuals. This way, the program distributes specialized staff in the areas with most patients. Additionally, the stigma associated with regular treatment in clinics is removed.
  • By developing online or over-the-phone programs. Language and cultural barriers can add to cultural disparities because some individuals can’t express themselves in English or Spanish. If the sessions can occur on the phone or through media outlets, patients can receive the right treatment from a specialist who speaks their language and who is culturally relatable. This way, individuals can communicate and feel understood. As a consequence, the chances of completing a treatment increase.

A New Way To Respond To Patients’ Needs

As mentioned before, customizing programs for each demographic group is challenging. However, the program can meet the needs of an individual through data processing. Clinics can collect information about patients’ concerns, needs, and preferences. Then, the data can help build a step-by-step program that offers the best services. This way, the staff can learn about cultural disparities and how to respond to different patients.

Additionally, the mobile clinic and digital solutions can work with volunteering programs such as:

  • Support groups outside the hospital. The system should encourage the general population to contribute to the mental health support of BIPOC individuals. Whether they are lawyers, writers or carpenters, they can all help.
  • Programs for immigrant children. Immigrants can experience mental health issues because of racial and ethnic disparities in addition to the cultural shift. Children, specifically, have trouble integrating into the new society because of language and cultural barriers. In this case, a volunteering program can be developed. Professional staff can work on the mental health aspect and supervise the program. Meanwhile, volunteers can help with communication and culture by providing comfort, homework, term paper help, as well as translation.


The key to reducing racial and ethnic inequalities is a more organized and well-distributed health provision. Mobile clinics and digital aid could reach underprivileged citizens who can’t afford insurance. In addition, more people can have access to mental health care with the help of volunteers and support groups.



About the Author: Justin Osborne is one of the essay writers, he loves to share his thoughts and opinions about education, writing and blogging with other people on different blogs and forums. Currently, he is working as a content marketer at term paper help.


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