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Challenges and Opportunities to Meet the Mental Health Needs of Underserved and Disenfranchised Populations in the United States
Publication Date: Jan 24 2020
The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry
This article investigates the gap in access to and quality of mental health care in the United States. This work first discusses how minority populations are most affected by the treatment gap. It summarizes recent literature on the topic for better understanding the needs of psychiatrically underserved and disenfranchised populations and the causes of mental health disparities. It reviews some of the barriers to behavioral health care, including lack of insurance coverage, lack of community-based interventions, unequal access to evidence-based practices, stigma, mental health workforce shortages, and geographical maldistribution of providers. Second, it reviews opportunities to address these disparities. The article provides examples of effective interventions that researchers worldwide have already implemented to address the gap of mental health services within the collaborative care model and global mental health initiatives. Telepsychiatry and improvements in training of the mental health workforce are also listed as useful implementations to overcome the treatment gap for patients seeking mental health care.