How to Talk About Your Mental Health When No One Wants To Listen

August 10, 2018

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


People from racial and ethnic minority groups are less likely to receive mental health care than the rest of the population, according to national data. Factors that may contribute to this disparity include prejudice against mental health issues, limited access to services, and language barriers. Experts encourage people from minority groups to reach out for help when they are struggling, even if their community discourages it. They recommend seeking treatment from a mental health professional who speaks the same language and understands their religious or cultural background. While friends and family members may be reluctant to talk about mental health issues, it is important to try to establish open communication. Using language that a loved one is likely to understand might make the conversation easier, such as avoiding terms like “mental disorder” and describing physical symptoms first to break the ice. “Simply talking about your situation and illness to someone understanding may reduce some of the stress you have,” said June Cao, a New York-based clinical psychologist who works with Asian Americans. “It can also help your loved ones to understand you better and relieve their concerns about you.”

Spark Extra! Read about racial and ethnic differences in mental health service use.