Mental Health and Minorities Is Not a Minor Issue

Mental illness affects over forty two million Americans, which is one in five Americans each day (NAMI: National Alliance). With mental illness being a common theme in the media and novels throughout the world, the novel It’s Kind of A Funny Story by Vizzini creates a relatable tale of a minority adolescent suffering with mental illness and the struggles that come with it. Based on various research concerning the effects of mental illness on minorities and the novel It’s Kind of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, mental illness disproportionately affects minority groups including women, lower income persons and people of racial minority backgrounds, thus displaying a controversial issue intoday’s society that requires immediate attention.

Mental illness greatly affects the minority group of women when compared to men. Nearly one in eight women are affected by depression in their lifetime, which is twice the amount of men who are affected by depression (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Women are forty percent more likely to develop mental illness than men, which is analytically significant considering that the majority of people are unaware of how many people are diagnosed with mental health conditions each year(Ball). Women are overly represented in the low-income and low-status jobs which makes them more likely to live in poverty than men, thus displaying not only a considerable problem pertaining to equality in the workforce,but the distinct difference in the amount of women plagued with mental health issues versus men. Women are constantly being placed under social stresses such as gender stereotypes and the fact that women are paid less which makes it harder to advance in a career. Women are also much more likely to have experienced childhood sexual abuse, an unfortunate experience that often has long term effects associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (“It’s not Just Sexism”). The fact that women have a 20.4% chance of developing PTSD compared to men who have an 8.1% chance, is an alarming statement and serves as a sign that something in our society and culture needs to change in order to substantially reduce the percentage of those affected (“Mental Health Statistics”). Eating disorders are classified as mental illnesses and greatly affect women compared to men. Almost two percent of women develop an eating disorder each year, while only point two percent of men develop an eating disorder each year. The difference in the percentages of affected individuals between men and women is enough to call for action to combat this illness across the world and in the ever changing society in which we live in (“Women and Mental Health”). The excessive amount of women who are being diagnosed with these conditions when compared to the amount of men with these same disorders is concerning. More research should be conducted to provide answers to why women are more affected than men, followed by solutions to these problems such as expanding education and awareness of mental health and expanding treatment options by making them more accessible.

One in four women are likely to develop depression in their lifetime contrasted to men who have a one in ten chance of developing depression. The reason for this is unexplained but many believe this reason is due to several social factors including poverty levels and social status levels. Others believe the reason is due to hormonal and biological changes in both men and women that cause mental illnesses. This is also a very reasonable theory considering men and women have different genetic makeups. There is a vital problem in the world when fifty percent of babies living in poverty are being raised by depressed mothers. (“Depression in Women”). About seventy percent of low income mothers go without treatment for mental health. This is a significant problem because going without treatment can have long term effects.(“Low Income associated with”).The large amount of women that are affected by mental illness will continue to grow unless combatted quickly by changes brought about by society.

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