Mental Health Resources for Minority Older Adults

Mental Health Resources for Minority Seniors - graphic for Caring Advisor header

For mental health emergencies, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a free, 24-hour hotline, at 1-800-273-8255 or text “NAMI” to 741741.

 

Unfortunately, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity are still barriers for many seniors attempting to access quality care, especially mental and behavioral health resources. Even more unfortunate is the fact that many people are unaware that these barriers exist or do not know where and how to access necessary behavioral health resources.

In an attempt to spread awareness of these issues, July is designated as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. Also known as BIPOC Mental Health Month (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), this observation is dedicated to raising awareness of the unique mental health challenges facing racial and ethnic minorities and connecting people to potentially life-saving resources.

However, awareness of these resources shouldn’t be limited to one month a year. Elders deserve to know about and have access to culturally sensitive care year-round.

Mental Health Resource List for Minority Seniors

We recognize that the intersection of age and minority status places minority seniors at greater risk of developing mental health issues and creates unique barriers to accessing healthcare and behavioral health services. To help ease this burden, we have compiled a list of mental health resources made specifically for racial, ethnic, sexual, and/or religious minority older adult populations.

For African American and Black Older Adults

Black older adults in the United States face worse mental health outcomes than their White peers, according to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. Barriers to accessing proper behavioral health resources include limited availability of nearby services, financial constraints, and systemic barriers like professional bias against racial minorities. 

Part of the solution to improving mental health outcomes for Black seniors, experts believe, includes improving the quality of all healthcare services for Black Americans, removing systemic obstacles for racial minorities in the United States legal, financial, and judicial systems, and improving awareness of Black-specific mental health issues and how to address them among mental health professionals, which includes increasing the number of Black mental health professionals.

The following resources can help African American and Black seniors in the United States access mental health care.

For Jewish Seniors

As a religious and ethnic minority, the need for proper access to mental health services for Jewish Americans remains high. The following Jewish organizations can help Jewish seniors (and other age groups) access culturally sensitive mental health care.

  • Jewish Association Serving the Aging (JASA)
    • This New York-based organization recognizes the unique mental health needs of older adults, which is why they offer senior-specific mental health services, such as an outpatient geriatric mental health center in the Bronx and other senior-focused programs.
  • Jewish Family Services
    • This St. Louis-based organization recognizes that mental health is just as important to maintain as physical health is. That is why they offer a variety of behavioral health services like counseling and psychiatry.

For Asian American & Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian Seniors

Finding culturally sensitive behavioral health services for “Asian American, and Pacific Islanders/Native Hawaiians” can be difficult, because this term is so incredibly broad and encompasses a wide range of cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Fortunately, the following resources can direct people toward more culturally sensitive services, including those available in a variety of languages.

  • Asian American Psychological Association
    • This association offers an entire list of readily accessible resources and publications concerning the psychological health of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
  • Diverse Elders Coalition
    • This coalition of various organizations advocates for the rights of minority seniors in the United States. Among their resources include thought pieces on their blog, such as this one regarding the mental health of Vietnam-era older adults. Besides giving an overview of the subject, it also lists ways to help.
  • Mental Health America Hawai‘i 2018 Directory
    • This directory is full of various mental and behavioral health services available to people living in the State of Hawaii.
  • Papa Ola Lokahi
    • This Hawaii-based organization seeks to improve the health and well-being of Native Hawaiians. Their advocacy and accessible programs and resources make this organization a great place for Native Hawaiians to find the help they need.

For Hispanic/Latinx Older Adults

The Hispanic population is one of the most rapidly growing racial and ethnic groups in the United States. However, obstacles still remain for Hispanic/Latinx seniors attempting to access proper care, including language barriers.

The following resources may be able to assist Hispanic/Latinx individuals trying to get the services they need.

For LGBTQ Seniors

The intersection of race, sexuality/gender identity, and age can make accessing appropriate services daunting. That said, there are organizations in the United States that recognize the unique mental health needs of older LGBTQ adults of color, including the following.

For American Indian & Alaska Native Elders

It can be difficult for Indigenous elders to access mental health care that is considerate of their unique cultural backgrounds. Fortunately, the following organizations are dedicated to improving the lives of Indigenous peoples residing inside the United States and/or Indian reservations, including offering mental health resources.

For Arab American, Middle Eastern American & Muslim Seniors

While more data is still needed to paint a more holistic picture of the mental health status of Arab Americans, Middle Eastern Americans, and Muslim Americans, current research shows that certain obstacles in the United States, including anti-Arab sentiments, can increase the odds of negative mental health outcomes for these groups. These findings show that the need for culturally appropriate care for these groups is as strong as ever.

The following resources may be able to help these seniors access mental and behavioral health services.

For Professionals, Caregivers & Loved Ones

Professionals, caregivers, and loved ones can always improve their approach to mental health care and support, especially their care for minority seniors. The following resources are designed to help two groups of people: (1) untrained professionals, like friends and family, who are attempting to help their struggling loved ones, and (2) physical and behavioral health professionals and caregivers who want to improve the quality of the services they provide to minority seniors.

 

Disclaimers: This article is for informational purposes only. The content contained herein cannot be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. This resource list is not exhaustive.