Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012
For Minority Physicians
Mental illness remains a severe issue for minority populations
Did you know that African-Americans are 20 percent more likely to report having serious psychological distress than Non-Hispanic Whites? Did you know that older Asian-American women have the highest suicide rate of all women in the United States older than 65? And did you know that adolescent American Indian and Alaska natives die from suicide at twice the rate as whites?
Those figures are from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' most recent National Healthcare Disparities Report, and they illustrate just how serious a concern mental health is for minority populations in underserved communities. The report also found that mental illness is a leading cause of disability, yet nearly two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illnesses do not seek treatment.
Various activities took place around the country last month in observation of July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Campbell, an African-American woman and a parent of a child with bipolar disorder, was an early champion of efforts to highlight the significant under-utilization of mental health services and limited access to providers in underserved communities.
The AMA Minority Affairs Section encourages all physicians and medical students to visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness website and view highlights from Bebe Moore Campbell Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
Take advantage of CDC's children's vaccine program
With August observed as National Immunization Awareness Month, a federal program that provides free vaccines to eligible children can help physicians ensure that children are protected from getting dangerous childhood diseases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Vaccines for Children program provides free vaccines to children without health insurance coverage. That includes those who are enrolled in Medicaid, American Indians and Alaskan natives, and those whose health insurance dues does not cover vaccines and go to federally qualified health clinics or rural health centers.
The AMA Minority Affairs Section strongly encourages physicians, parents and teachers to proactively be involved with promoting proper immunization to protect children from contracting dangerous childhood diseases.