National Mental Health Awareness Month: Minority Health Outcomes

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month.  Our mental health affects our physical health in many ways. Unfortunately in the minority population, cultural taboos sometimes make it difficult for us to seek help.There is an abundance of mental health challenges in minority populations, a lot of which have to do with socio-economic stressors and triggers.  These might include things like unstable jobs, unemployment, financial stress and living in unsafe neighborhoods.

Stress can manifest in different ways and may include things like difficulty sleeping, difficulty keeping a job or a relationship, chronic tiredness, etc. Health complications like strokes, heart attacks and gastrointestinal complaints may also be a result of unresolved stress. Unfortunately, undiagnosed and untreated stress may lead someone to develop bad habits including excessive alcohol use, smoking, substance abuse and even suicide.

It is important to have efficient coping mechanisms for stress.  Where possible, a healthy network of friends that he can rely on and talk to on a regular basis can help 1 to deal with stress.  Recreational activities including vigorous exercise becomes important as well as it is well known that exercise releases endorphins which are feel good hormones in our brains.  Counseling and medication can help when the situation calls for it.  We should not allow cultural taboos keep us from getting the help that we need.

Obinna C. Oriaku, MD MBA Dr Oriaku is the Founder and CEO of Crown Clinic, P. A. a primary care practice based in Charlotte NC. He also recently founded SocratesMD, a telemedicine platform delivering world class healthcare to sub Saharan Africa. He is a physician executive with strong communication and analytic skills leading to effective change management. His special interests include healthcare delivery in resource challenged populations, bridging gaps in healthcare disparity in target populations. He is available as a speaker on issues that are of interest to him. Crown Clinic, P.A. 4500 South Tryon St Charlotte, NC 28217 704-527-5522

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