Toward Culturally Centered Integrative Care for Addressing Mental Health Disparities Among Ethnic Minorities

Despite decades of research, recognition and treatment of mental illness and its comorbidities still remain a significant public health problem in the United States. Ethnic minorities are identified as a population that is vulnerable to mental health disparities and face unique challenges pertaining to mental health care. Psychiatric illness is associated with great physical, emotional, functional, and societal burden. The primary health care setting may be a promising venue for screening, assessment, and treatment of mental illnesses for ethnic minority populations.

We propose a comprehensive, innovative, culturally centered integrated care model to address the complexities within the health care system, from the individual level, which includes provider and patient factors, to the system level, which includes practice culture and system functionality issues. Our multidisciplinary investigative team acknowledges the importance of providing culturally tailored integrative health care to holistically concentrate on physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral problems among ethnic minorities in a primary care setting. It is our intention that the proposed model will be useful for health practitioners, contribute to the reduction of mental health disparities, and promote better mental health and well-being for ethnic minority individuals, families, and communities.

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