Despite the fact that tens of millions of Americans suffer from mental health issues, there’s a persistent stigma surrounding mental illness — and it far too often dissuades people from seeking help. A newly published study has provided another powerful reminder that mental health struggles need to be destigmatized — because there’s no shame in suffering from a mental illness or getting the help you need and deserve.
According to a study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, approximately one in six Americans has taken a prescribed psychiatric drug at least once.
The most commonly prescribed meds are antidepressants, anxiety meds, sedatives, and sleep aids. So, if you’ve taken a medication to improve your mental health, you have plenty of company.
The study’s authors noted a significant disparity in the prescriptions doled out to white adults compared to Hispanics and African-Americans.
The study also found that approximately 9 percent of African-American adults reported taking at least one psychiatric medication.
These findings further validate previous research, which has shown that minorities receive inferior mental health care compared to whites due to barriers such as stigma and a lack of diverse health care providers.
So, although many individuals with mental health problems face roadblocks in their recovery, ethnic minorities are especially affected by stigma and inadequate treatment options.
Of course, medication shouldn’t be the only method used to treat those suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. In addition to the risk of dependence, particularly on anxiety medications like Valium and Xanax, it’s essential that a comprehensive treatment plan is formed — which typically involves a combination of medication and talk therapy.