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Office of the Surgeon General (US); Center for Mental Health Services (US); National Institute of Mental Health (US). Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity: A Supplement to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2001 Aug.

Cover of Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity

Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity: A Supplement to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General.

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Foreword

As was the case when Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General was released in 1999, Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity provides cause for both celebration and concern for those of us at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and its Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS). We celebrate the Supplement's comprehensive coverage of issues relevant to the mental health of racial and ethnic minorities, its providing a historical and cultural context within which minority mental health may be better understood, and its appreciation of the hardships endured and the strength, energy, and optimism of racial and ethnic minorities in their quest for good mental health. The Supplement causes us concern because of its finding that very serious disparities do exist regarding the mental health services delivered to racial and ethnic minorities. We must eliminate these disparities.

SAMHSA and CMHS envision a Nation where all persons, regardless of their culture, race, or ethnicity, enjoy the benefits of effective mental health preventive and treatment services. To achieve this goal, cultural and historical context must be accounted for in designing, adapting, and implementing services and service delivery systems. Communities must ensure that prevention and treatment services are relevant, attractive, and effective for minority populations. As the field learns more about the meaning and effect of cultural competence, we will enrich our commitment to the delivery of evidence-based treatment, tailored to the cultural needs of consumers and families. This Supplement, and the activities it will inspire, represents both a Surgeon General and a Department striving to improve communication among stakeholders through a shared appreciation of science, culture, history, and social context.

Not only does this Supplement provide us with a framework for better understanding scientific evidence and its implications for eliminating disparities, it also reinforces a major finding of Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. That is, it shows how stigma and shame deter many Americans, including racial and ethnic minorities, from seeking treatment. SAMHSA and CMHS have long been leaders in the fight to reduce the stigma of mental illness. We pledge to carry on our efforts in this fight.

SAMHSA and CMHS are proud to have developed this Supplement in consultation with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in the National Institutes of Health. NIMH has contributed to this Supplement in innumerable ways, and many of the future directions reflected herein, especially those related to the need for more research, can be addressed adequately only through NIMH's leadership. We are grateful that this leadership and the commitment to eliminating mental health disparities are well established at NIMH.

We again celebrate the publication of this Supplement, and we trust that you will see it as we do - as a platform upon which to build positive change in our mental health system for racial and ethnic minorities, and indeed, for our Nation as a whole.

  • Joseph H. Autry III, M.D
  • Acting Administrator
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Center for Mental Health Services Administration
  • Bernard S. Arons, M.D.
  • Director
  • Center for Mental Health Services

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