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Mental Health Disparities and Suicide by Grace Oladayo, RHEC V Emerging Professional

posted Aug 28, 2018, 9:31 AM by daniel yoo   [ updated Aug 28, 2018, 9:32 AM ]
People try to find reasons for everything. Nothing seems justifiable unless the individual feels like the reason is good enough. Why did this happen, why did/would you, why? Death by suicide often creates those questions, and it leaves people behind wondering the answers and looking for a reason why this person who was supposedly loved and cared for by family and friends would take his/her life. Suicide is often the end result of the many reasons people may or may not know about. Mental illness is one of the primary reasons and is diagnosed in more than 90% of those who commit suicide. About 450 million people in the world currently deal with mental illness, and about one million die by suicide each year. Suicide now has become one of the highest leading causes of death; the numbers are too high. A way to reduce those numbers is by fixing the underlying problem—the mental illness. Understanding the problem, funding research, and reducing the factors that may cause mental illnesses can significantly help control the associated problems and reduce suicide rates.

Many people in states with a high amount of health disparities do not receive treatments for their conditions. According to the Office of Minority Health, “Over 70% of Black/African American adolescents with a major depressive episode did not receive treatment for their condition.” This shows the lack of resources and treatments in the African American community. Hispanics/Latinos take up about 25% of the number of adolescents who had a major depressive episode in the past year and the 1 in 10 American Indian/Alaskan Native young adults who had thoughts of committing suicide. Regardless of the resources being made available for mental health, disparities still occur in the healthcare system. Health disparities create more poor outcomes than the actual problem itself as people resort to other options when they do not receive the health care they need to help prevent them.

Suicide rates in states such as Illinois and Ohio are increasing. More and more people are taking their lives, and even more are considering it; family and friends are looking for reasons why. To reduce suicide, resources need to be consistently available. This is especially important for those who live in neighborhoods with high health disparities, because those individuals are more likely to be victims.