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Disparities in Mental Health Treatment

The discrepancies between economic growth and continued poverty and health disparities are disheartening. In their book’s introduction, titled, “What is Growing? Who is Dying?” Millen, Irwin, and Kim examine, “this paradox—that poverty, vulnerability, and suffering should flourish even as wealth and technological power increase” (6). It is assumed that a liberal, free market correlates with greater prosperity. This may be true, but the full picture is not being painted. While the rich continue to get richer, economic growth has done little to enhance the living conditions of the poor. Something clearly needs to be done when, “the developing world carries 90 percent of the disease burden, yet poorer countries have access to only 10 percent of the resources that go to health” (4).

One health disparity that wasn’t mentioned in this article was the lack of mental health treatment available for many disadvantaged or minority populations. I found a dissertation written by Sarah J. Gaillot, titled, “Disparities in Trauma and Mental Health Service Use,” which looks at the inadequate treatment given to racial-ethnic minorities suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. It is unfortunate that minority populations continue to receive inferior treatment, and that economic inequalities, like a lack of health care, are often the central contributing factors to these disparities. The video below addresses the lack of mental health services available to minority populations in Texas. I found this statement interesting: “Dr. Martin says in minority communities that mental health conditions often result from past trauma. Africans were brought to the US as slaves against their will. Many Asians, such as the Vietnamese, were refugees fleeing war-torn countries. And many Hispanics are recent immigrants who speak two languages and alternate between cultures.” It is crucial that adequate treatment is given to these unique populations to address their needs in response to past trauma.

Gaillot, Sarah J. “Disparities in Trauma and Mental Health Service Use.” Print.
Kim, Jim Yong. Dying for Growth: Global Inequality and the Health of the Poor. Monroe, Me.: Common Courage, 2000. Print.

One response to “Disparities in Mental Health Treatment

  1. Nicole ⋅

    Mental health has a lot to do with one’s position on the social ladder. After watching the posted clip, it was interesting to learn that minorities, even when given high professions, believe they must rely on each other for help. We live in a country with cultural diversity, and it is about time that people begin to be culturally sensitive towards one another. Cultural respect can go a long way in improving health disparities.

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