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Lack of culturally competent care, rampant community stigma, and inadequate access to resources are just a few reasons for heightened mental illness rates in racial and ethnic minorities. Stressful life events (SLEs) are more common for racial minorities from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, whose lives can be “compounded by abject or perceived racism, a dearth of education, communal violence, single-family households, or substance abuse.” Harmful “weathering” and allostatic load can also result from extensive SLEs. Even further, an economic disparity lens gives us insight into cognitive stressors (i.e. food insecurity, exhaustion, paycheck-to-paycheck living) that limit one’s bandwidth — all of which can prevent long-term planning and proper diagnosing of mental health issues.
Mental health struggles start early, as racial/ethnic discrimination in childhood and adolescence pose psychological, behavioral, and academic burdens. Young Black children are over-policed and over-disciplined. Alarmingly, approximately 1.7 million U.S. students attend schools with police officers but no counselors, and 6 million students attend schools with police but no psychologists — largely schools with BIPOC students.
- **[Stressful life events (SLEs):](https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-94-007-0753-5_2880#:~:text=Stressful life events%2C or life,usually signify major life changes.)** Stressful life events, or life event stressors, are undesirable, unscheduled, non-normative, and/or uncontrollable discrete, observable events with a generally clear onset and offset that usually signify major life changes.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury.
- **[Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD):](https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad#:~:text=Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is,difficult to control their worry.)** Characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a number of different things. People with GAD may anticipate disaster and may be overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. Individuals with GAD find it difficult to control their worry.
- **[Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs):](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3497935/#:~:text=A brain-computer interface (BCI,carry out a desired action.&text=■-,In principle%2C any type of brain signal could be,to control a BCI system.)** A brain-computer interface (BCI) is a computer-based system that acquires brain signals, analyzes them, and translates them into commands that are relayed to an output device to carry out a desired action. In principle, any type of brain signal could be used to control a BCI system.
1. Childhood and Adolescent Interventions
Interventions that support children and adolescents with childhood trauma or learning disabilities are critical for later success in life.
What needs to be done?
Video game therapy: Therapy integrated into video games may have high potential as a therapy for children and adolescents, especially since games have an unprecedented [global market size of $151 billion](https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/video-game-market#:~:text=The global video game market,12.9% from 2020 to 2027.). Healium is an example of a VR platform with anxiety-soothing exercises.
2. Digital Health & Wellness
Telemedicine and digital apps can better connect BIPOC individuals to quality mental health services, specialists, and education.
- Henry Health is a digital wellness community that provides culturally sensitive self-care and teletherapy support. Henry Health initially provided services specifically for Black men, the population with the lowest health expectancy in the U.S., and now provides “culture-first” mental health care to other groups that could benefit.