Stigma and Barriers Hinder Mental Health Diagnosis and Treatment – ​​InsuranceNewsNet


Five Questions to Help You Find a Culturally Competent Mental Health Care Provider

Nearly one in five adults, or approximately 53 million people, lives with a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder in United States.1 However, not all people are diagnosed and treated at the same rate. This leads to disparities in mental health treatment and diagnosis, says AmeriHealth Caritas, a leader in healthcare solutions for those who need it most and an advocate for holistic care.

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Infographic courtesy of AmeriHealth Caritas

According to American Psychiatric Association, Black adults are also less likely to be offered evidence-based drug therapy or psychotherapy, compared to the general population. They are also less likely to receive guideline-compliant care and less frequently included in mental health research, compared to whites.2

“The mental health care system was not designed with everyone in mind,” said Dr. Yavar Mogimi, Physician Lead for Behavioral Health for AmeriHealth Caritas. “Provider biases and systemic barriers mean that many black people feel that treatment will not help them.”

Challenges include the need for a more diverse behavioral health workforce as well as a lack of cultural competency, or the skills, behaviors and attitudes needed to work effectively with different cultural groups. This can lead to misdiagnosis and improper treatment and cause patient distrust.3

“Finding a mental health care provider who can include an individual’s unique culture, beliefs and values ​​in their care is important for successful treatment,” Moghimi explained.

Barriers faced by vulnerable populations when seeking mental health care and diagnosis can have significant consequences, especially in non-white and marginalized communities. In 2019, suicide became the second leading cause of death among black adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24,4 and black women remain one of the most undertreated WE populations for depression.5

Moghimi recommends that patients ask themselves several questions to best assess whether a mental health provider is the right fit and can provide culturally competent care:

  • Does the provider ask questions about your problems in the context of your social network, such as family or friends, other members of your community?

  • Does the provider ask you what you think are the causes of your problems?

  • Does the provider ask questions about the most important aspects of your background or identity and whether they make a difference to your problem (ie discrimination)?

  • Does the provider ask about any barriers that have prevented you from getting the help you need, including stigma or social determinants of health?

  • If there are differences in your background, does the provider ask you what your concerns are about those differences and what your expectations are?

These questions are some examples of what culturally competent mental health care providers should ask when trying to provide appropriate care in the context of patients’ culture and the inequities that may be part of their daily lives. .

About AmeriHealth Caritas

AmeriHealth Caritas is a national leader in healthcare solutions for those who need it most. Operating in 12 states and the District of Colombia, AmeriHealth Caritas serves approximately 5 million Medicaid, Medicare and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Health Insurance Marketplace® members through its integrated managed care products, pharmacy benefit management and specialty pharmacy services, and services behavioral health. Based at Pennsylvania, AmeriHealth Caritas is a mission-driven organization with nearly 40 years of experience serving low-income and chronically ill populations. For more information, visit

1 “Mental illness,” National Institute of Mental Health, 2022,

2 “Mental Health Disparities: African Americans” American Psychiatric Association, 2017,

3 “Identity and Cultural Dimensions: Blacks/African Americans”, National Alliance on Mental Illness

4 “Mental and Behavioral Health – African Americans”, US Department of Health and Human Services, Minority Health Office2021,

5 Tamara Nelsonet al., “Do I Really Need to See Someone? Black Women’s Perceptions of Help-Seeking for Depression,” Journal of Black Psychology, flight. 46, no. 4, 2020, p. 263–286.

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Shannon Reyes
Tel: 1-215-625-1134

[email protected]

Source: AmeriHealth Caritas


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