Mental Health

Mental health doesn’t discriminate

May 4, 2022 | 5 minutes
Written by Healthsource Staff

As we strive to have open conversations about mental health, it’s crucial to address that not everyone who needs help has easy access to care.  

Great need 

According to Mental Health America, 17% of Black people and 23% of Native Americans live with a mental illness. And people who identify as belonging to two or more races are more likely to report any mental illness within the past year than any other racial or ethnic group.  

Research has shown that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) groups are:  

  • Less likely to have access to mental health services  
  • Less likely to seek out treatment  
  • More likely to receive low or poor quality of care
  • More likely to end services early    

Minimal resources 

Even when you’ve made the decision to get care, finding a provider can be hard.  

  • More than one in three Americans live in areas without mental health providers. (source
  • One of the greatest barriers for people of color in accessing mental health services is the lack of diverse therapists. (source
  • Among psychologists in the U.S. in 2015, 5% were Asian, 5% were Hispanic, 4% were Black, and 1% were multiracial or from other racial/ethnic groups. (source

This scarcity can make it hard for BIPOC Americans to find a provider they feel comfortable talking to about race-related trauma and can also lead to misdiagnosis. (source

Care within your community 

The study “An Unspoken Level of Comfort” in the Journal of Black Psychology found that Black therapists and their patients often had a “distinct sense of solidarity … as evidenced by having a better understanding of the context of Black clients’ lives.”  

Being able to get mental health care from someone who understands your background and culture, or who looks like you, is important. It helps build trust and lessens the weight of already difficult conversations.  

Where to turn 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a list of resources that has been “curated in support of community members who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color/Asian American and Pacific Islander – and to forward the cause of anti-racism.” When you find a provider you’re interested in, make sure they’re in your plan network by signing in to your account on and searching Find a Doctor. 

With Premera, you have access to one of the largest provider networks in the country. In the provider directory, you can browse Mental & Behavioral Health and filter by dozens of Areas of Expertise, including Cultural/Ethnic Issues, Family Therapy, Grief & Loss, Men’s and Women’s Issues, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Self-Esteem. 

Many Premera plans also offer virtual mental health care that allow you to choose a provider. Find out what virtual care options are included in your plan by signing in to your account

Building equitable access   

Premera committed $30.5 million to 307 nonprofits over the last three years that are focused on addressing behavioral health conditions, homelessness, and rural health access. We are dedicated to improving our customers’ lives by addressing behavioral health issues—especially for people of color and low-income populations where community health data consistently shows treatment disparities exist. Read more about how Premera is working for health equity. 

You can learn more about signs and conditions of mental health on our website. If you know someone experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. Both offer free, 24/7 crisis support and resources. If you or someone you know is thinking suicidal thoughts, call 911.

Healthsource Staff
Healthsource Staff

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