Each person’s mental health journey is unique. A person’s family history, race, ethnicity, and culture all play an important role in how mental health is understood and addressed.
While a sense of community and belonging is a known protective factor for mental health, experiencing discrimination, harassment, or lack of access to health care can exacerbate mental health conditions.
Learning about how culture and identity factors affect mental health is the first step to addressing inequality and ensuring everyone has access to mental health care.
LGBTQ+ Communities and Mental Health
Experiences of sexual orientation and gender identity can impact overall mental health. Belonging to LGBTQ+ communities can bring unique challenges because of the prejudice, harassment, family rejection, and discrimination these communities often face. This identity is often also a source of strength, resilience, and pride, as members of this community work to overcome obstacles to fully discover and become comfortable in their identity.
Black Communities and Mental Health
While belonging to the Black or African American community is a source of strength and pride, Black individuals often face unique mental health challenges because of the U.S.’s political and cultural climate of white supremacy.
Latine Communities and Mental Health
Latine communities in the U.S. are very diverse, encompassing people from multiple different nations around the world. People hailing from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central America and South America, while distinct and unique, are united by shared cultural connections.
In addition to speaking Spanish, large portions of this community share religious affiliations, strong family bonds, and indigenous ancestry.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities and Mental Health
Asian American and Pacific Islander communities (often abbreviated as AAPI) encompass a wide range of diverse identities and nationalities. More than 19 million Asian Americans trace their roots to 20-plus countries in East and Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, each with distinct histories, cultures, languages, and other cultural characteristics. People who identify as Asian American might trace their origins to any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Indigenous and Native Communities and Mental Health
Indigenous, or Native, people who lived in what we now call the United States prior to European colonization currently make up about 1.5 percent of the U.S. population.
Native peoples’ mental well-being is closely tied to their deep connection to nature and to their community. Therefore, the violence of colonization and displacement was and continues to be especially traumatic for native communities.
Arab American Communities and Mental Health
Arab Americans trace their ancestry to various waves of immigrants from the countries comprising the Arab World, including the Middle East and parts of North Africa.
Multiracial Identities and Mental Health
Roughly 10 percent of the population, or 33.8 million people, in the U.S. identify as multiracial, according to the U.S. Census. While a sense of belonging and cultural identity is a protective factor for many single-race individuals, people who identify as biracial or multiracial may not feel the same sense of acceptance as their single-race counterparts. Because they don’t fit neatly into any one group, people with a multiracial background often find themselves in between two (or more) cultural worlds.