Calif. African-American Women Lack Access to Mental Health Treatment

 KQED Radio News

While one million women in California suffer from mental health problems, African-Americans are the least likely to get treatment. That’s according to a recent study by Oakland’s Public Health Institute. One reason is limited access to care.

Nearly half of African-American women in California with mental health issues say their treatment needs were not met. Those women usually live below the poverty line and are uninsured or underinsured.

Katy Shand, a therapist at Planned Parenthood in Richmond, says this lack of resources is a true barrier.

“There’s a desire to thrive, here. And not a lot of opportunity to connect with the resources that help make that happen…like a counselor,” says Shand.

Most of her clients have witnessed or been victims of violence, says Shand. The study shows a strong link between exposure to violence and psychological distress.

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