Equal Access to Mental Health Resources

Access to mental healthcare in the United States is disproportionate across racial and economic backgrounds. These distinctions are also drastically different across states. Studies have shown that because of the lack of access to mental healthcare, there is actually an increase in those mental health disorders. If all people had equal access to care, the rate at which certain racial or economic groups developed these conditions would be less. 

In 2020, Georgia was ranked 50 for overall access to care. Mental Health America has broken down the rankings of various topics (such as uninsured access to care, who needed treatment versus who actually got treatment, etc.) across the states. Though this information may be disheartening at first glance, it provides us with a starting point. We know what doesn’t work, what needs to change, and we are then able to implement those strategies. 

Studies have also shown that in developing countries, where access to any kind of healthcare is limited, mental illness and substance abuse poses a much bigger threat. Historically, there is a lot of stigma and discrimination with regards to who receives treatment, let alone quality care. We can take this and apply it to the United States. Minority groups see much higher rates of certain mental health conditions, are less likely to attend or complete substance abuse treatment and are at an increased risk for overdose-related deaths. 

For example, 40% of admits to government-funded treatment centers are made of up racial/ethnic minorities. Though they may seek help initially, it has been shown across the board that these individuals have poorer treatment outcomes. The Affordable Care Act may have increased access for individuals who cannot afford treatment, this does not ensure that they are receiving high-quality care. Not to mention, most of these centers do not have programs specific to certain ethnic groups which pose another barrier to effective treatment. 

We also see that there is a much higher rate of drug-related arrests in Black communities. Black individuals are incarcerated for drug-related offenses 5-7 times more than their white counterparts. Research indicates that Black individuals are more likely to receive charges of possession and sales while white’s are charged with possession to support their addiction. What’s interesting, though, is that Black Americans report preferring drugs like marijuana and struggling less with addiction while whites are the ones using harder drugs to support their abuse. This indicates that there is a disproportionate rate at which these individuals are incarcerated and given treatment. 

Through LiveAnotherDay.org and RecoveryinGeorgia.org, I work with a team of passionate individuals whose goal is to increase access to a variety of resources. This enables more people struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring mental illness to get the help that they need. Not only do we find the best resources, but we make sure that all of our guides offer legitimate options. There are guides for all racial and ethnic backgrounds, for LGBTQ, for various mental health conditions, and for finding inpatient and outpatient rehab centers near you.

Mental Health Resources

The NAMI website provides a wealth of resources for someone struggling with mental health issues, and the friends or families of people struggling.
SAMHSA provides a 24/7 National Helpline available at 1-800-662-4357 that can help someone find treatment for mental health or substance abuse issues. This hotline is available in English and Spanish.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24/7/365 crisis line that can help someone who is in a crisis. The Lifeline can be reached anytime at 1-800-273-8255 and they also have a Lifeline chat for online messaging.

Black Mental Health Alliance
The Black Mental Health Alliance is a national organization that provides access to culturally competent mental health resources. They have a searchable directory of Black clinicians all across the country for culturally sensitive mental healthcare for Black people.

Asian Mental Health Collective
The Asian Mental Health Collective aims to make mental healthcare more easily accessible to Asian Americans and Asians all across the world. They provide hotlines, therapist referrals, and links to organizations that work to support Asian mental health.
Therapy for Latinx
Therapy for Latinx provides a range of helpful resources for Latinx people to find culturally competent and sensitive mental health resources. Their website provides crisis hotlines, national resources, and a local Latinx therapist locator.

Mental Health America

A national non-profit organization, Mental Health America’s website provides a vast array of helpful resources including warmlines, crisis resources, and different ways to get help for yourself or a loved one.

Emotions Anonymous
This is a 12-Step fellowship that is for people who struggle with emotional issues, by people who are in recovery from emotional issues. Their website provides a variety of helpful information as well as locators for in-person and virtual meetings.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a volunteer organization that works to destigmatize suicide and promote awareness and education among people who struggle with thoughts of suicide and the general public.

Dial 211
211 is a service provided by United Way that connects people with local resources. They have a variety of helpful referrals for mental health services all across America.
Crisis Text Line
The Crisis Text Line is a 24/7 crisis line that can connect someone with a trained crisis counselor. Text HOME to 741-741 anytime to find help. They also provide a Crisis Chat through their website.
Veterans Crisis Line
The Veterans Crisis Line is a service provided by the US Department of Veterans Affairs that is available 24/7/365. To get help, call 1-800-273- 8255 (Press 1), text 838-255, or use their online chat option.