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Race and Mental Health

Mental wellness is an important part of living a healthy and successful life. This is especially true for college students who are learning to care for themselves independently while balancing a multitude of responsibilities and stressors. Maintaining your mental health is an active process that can require resources, skills, and effort. Regardless of your identity, you can experience mental illnesses that could have a drastic impact on your well-being if not properly addressed. Unfortunately, many of our common ideas about mental health reflect the dominant cultures that produced them. For this reason, individuals from marginalized groups may struggle to access care, support, and resources that are relevant to their backgrounds and beneficial to their mental wellness. Additionally, these groups face a number of systemic barriers and experiences of discrimination and bias that can increase their stress-load, making mental wellness that much harder to reach.

The UMass Lowell Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) has put together a list of culturally-relevant mental health needs, challenges, and resources to spread more awareness of the unique experiences marginalized groups. This list is not intended to exhaustively describe these items, but offer an access point for those looking for more information or to start conversations on these topics.

For more information specific to particular racial identities, please click on the relevant links on this page.

Mental Illness and Racial Identity Links

The information presented here also does not capture the experiences or viewpoints of every member of a particular group and should not be used as all-encompassing descriptions or stereotypes. For instance, though stigma surrounding mental illness is common in many marginalized communities, this should not be taken to mean all, or even most, members of that community have negative perceptions of mental health, nor should it be divorced from the fact that most dominant narratives of mental health ignore the cultural knowledge and understandings of these marginalized groups. Finally, the information and resources presented here are not intended to replace mental health treatment. If you are experiencing distress, please contact the university’s Wellness Center, your healthcare provider, or a relevant community service agency.

Please email the Office of Multicultural Affairs with any questions or comments about this information.