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How San Antonio groups are helping during Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and the focus is on addressing how a person's background and identity can make access to treatment even more challenging.

There are disparities within minority mental health care. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 70 percent of African-American adolescents with a major depressive episode do not get treatment.

Asian-American adults were less likely to use mental health services than any other ethnic group, and nearly 25 percent of adolescents with a major depressive episode in the last year were Hispanic.

“If English isn't your first language, then trying to understand the just huge amount of information around mental health care and treatment can be really, really difficult,” NAMI-San Antonio Executive Director Terri Mabrito said.

NAMI-San Antonio has free mental health education classes and the staff is prepared to help everyone get proper care. “What we do at NAMI-San Antonio is we have bilingual staff that can talk to folks that call in, so they are comfortable in their own language,” Mabrito said. “And then we have training for our teachers so we can have bilingual teachers training providing our classes.”

The San Antonio Clubhouse is another place adults with a mental illness can get help. The organization provides job opportunities and creates a community where people can thrive.

“We provide opportunities to help them build upon their skill sets,” Jose Sanchez said. “And I think that's very important in this day and age right, because you don't always have that opportunity to build confidence before you go into the workplace."

While these two groups are helpful resources, NAMI-San Antonio says health care providers can also join in the fight to address the stigma surrounding mental illness. “I think one of the most important thing for mental health providers is to just ask. What's going on, ask questions about traditions and cultures of the person that's beginning to inquire about services,” Mabrito said.

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