Racial Stratification

Words: 1048
Pages: 5

Mental health is a topic that has become increasing prevalent in today’s society as “one in five American adults experience a mental health issue” (Mental Health by the Numbers). Mental illness is a social problem that warrants discussion because it can be extremely deadly, as seen through the increased number of suicides, “the 10th leading cause of death in the United States” (Mental Health), and mass shootings, which can possibly be linked to untreated mental diseases. With this increase presences, there is more evidence of the multitude of disparities surrounding this issue. Such disparities include the lack of accredited facilities, long waiting lists for care, high levels of stigma associated with mental illness, and the extreme costs …show more content…
The mental health problems created through racial stratification could be completely eliminated, Brown states, if there was a complete elimination of racial stratification itself. Synthesizes a study done by Kessler and colleagues (1994) in which the difference between black and white’s life-time and past-year susceptibility to a variety of health disorders was insignificant. When looking at the evidence collected, blacks maintained better levels of mental health given location and race-related stress than their white counterparts. Yet, the system in which the definitions of mental health operate fail to consider the concept of mental health within a racial group, while also ignoring the impact racial stratification has on mental health.
In order to combat this disparity in diagnosis, “mental health might need to be defined with regard to a community’s norms” (Brown 2003), with the diversification of those doing the diagnosing. By doing this, there is a wider range of ideas and understanding of the various social, communal, and cultural differences that may be perceived as “mentally unstable” by one group, but acceptable to
…show more content…
The biosocial model of racial stratification, as suggested by Massey, “connects elements of social structure” (Barr 2008), be it socioeconomic standings or racial issues such as segregation, to chronic illness. Many would look at this model and assume that blacks, being a minority in the United States, and reaping the poor social consequences as a result of a history of racially charged prejudice, would have a high rate of mental health issues, in many cases, a chronic illness. Yet, through the research presented, it is seen that this is in fact not the case. Despite this, we still see minorities at a disadvantage when it comes to receiving a correct diagnosis as there is often a lack of intersectional understanding on the part of the physician as well as racial skewed criteria. Therefore, the biosocial model does hold true in this case, yet inaccurately