Mental Illness Discrimination in Mental Health Treatment Programs: Intersections of Race, Ethnicity, and Sexual Orientation

Lynn Holley, Kyoko Y. Tavassoli, Layne K. Stromwall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

People with mental illnesses (PWMI) who are of color and/or lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) experience mental health disparities, including within mental health treatment programs (MHTPs). Informed by a critical framework with attention to intersectionality and microaggressions, this qualitative study asked 20 PWMI and family members who also are of color and/or LGB whether they had experienced mental illness discrimination in MHTPs, a possible factor in disparities. We also asked participants about aspects of MHTPs that supported recovery. Participants reported that they were ignored/not listened to, not viewed as complex individuals, experienced condescension/lack of respect and violations of privacy or other rights, and were presumed to lack intelligence. In addition, identifying mental illness discrimination was complex due to intersections of identities. Despite these perceptions of discrimination, participants described supportive aspects of MHTPs. Implications for practice and research are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 21 2016

Keywords

  • Heterosexism
  • Intersectionality
  • Mental illness discrimination
  • Microaggressions
  • Racism
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Health(social science)

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