Saturday, July 12, 2014

Facts about African American Mental Health

July is designated as National Minority Mental Heath Awareness Month. On my Psychology Today blog I have discussed potential reasons for health disparities. Below are some facts provided from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

• Mental illness is frequently stigmatized and misunderstood in the African American community. African Americans are much more likely to seek help though their primary care doctors as opposed to accessing specialty care.

• African Americans are often at a socioeconomic disadvantage in terms of accessing both medical and mental health care: in 2006, one-third of working adult African Americans were uninsured in the preceeding year.

• Experiences of mental illness vary across cultures, and there is a need for improved cultural awareness and competence in the health care and mental health workforce.

• African Americans in the United States are less likely to receive accurate diagnoses than their Caucasian counterparts. Schizophrenia, for instance has been shown to be over diagnosed in the African American population

• Culture biases against mental health professionals and health care professionals in general prevent many African Americans from accessing care due to prior experiences with historical misdiagnoses, inadequate treatment and a lack of cultural under standing; only 2 percent of psychiatrists, 2 percent of psychologists and 4 percent of social workers in the United States are African American.

• African Americans tend to rely on family, religious and social communities for emotional support rather than turning to health care professionals, even though this may at times be necessary. The health care providers they seek may not be aware of this important aspect of person life.

• Some studies suggest that African Americans metabolize some medications more slowly than Caucasian Americans, yet they often receive higher doses of psychiatric medications, which may result in increased side effects and decreased medication compliance.

• Social circumstances often serve as an indicator for the likelihood of developing a mental illness. African Americans are disproportionately more likely to experience social circumstances that increase their chances of developing a mental illness.

• With the implementation of various programs and innovations, African Americans’ patronization rates for mental health services may be improved.

• Programs in African American communities sponsored by respected institutions, such as churches and local community groups can increase awareness of mental health issues and resources and decrease the related stigma.

• Programs that improve enrollment rates in safety net health care providers can result in increased mental health care due to improved mental health coverage in the African American community.

• Encouragement in the community to join mental health related professions can increase the number of African American mental health care providers and increase social sensitivity among the provider community.

It is my hope that poliy efforts can work to improve our ability to provide services to the African American community. One effort is to increase my research to better understad barriers towards treatment. Please visit my research website for more information.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (2014). African American Community Mental Health. Obtained July 2014 from

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Mental Health Awareness

May is Mental Health Awareness month.  Please view the video below to learn more about psychotherapy. In psychotherapy, psychologists apply scientifically validated procedures to help people develop healthier, more effective habits. 

Get the facts, Therapy works! 

I'm Blogging for Mental Health. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

ADHD: Signs,Symptoms, and Research

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with difficulties such as inattention, disorganization, and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity. Symptoms of ADHD typically begins in childhood and causes problems across multiple settings areas (e.g., home, public,and school). I recently wrote a blog on Psychology Today discussing medication and treatment. Below is a video providing education about ADHD from the National Institute of Mental Health. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Health and Your Child: Tips to Become an Active Family

Keeping a regular exercise routine or engaging in physical activities has many benefits for your mental health and physical health. I previously wrote a blog post on Improving Your Health Status. Given this time of year many strive to change their lifestyle and get healthier. For parents, changing your routine or adding exercise may be more challenging. One way to decrease the challenge is to make time for the entire family to be active.
Here are some ideas to help your family be active together.

Make Time
  • Identify free times. Keep track of your daily activities for one week. Pick two 30-minute time slots you could use for family activity time.
  • Add physical activity to your daily routine. For example, walk or ride your bike to work or a friend's house, walk the dog with your children, exercise while you watch TV, or park farther away from your destination.
  • Try to walk, jog, or swim during your lunch hour, or take fitness breaks instead of coffee breaks. Try doing something active after dinner with your family, or on weekends.
  • Check out activities requiring little time. Try walking, jogging, or stair climbing.
Bring Others Into It
  • Ask friends and family to support your efforts.
  • Invite them to be active with you.
  • Set up a party or other social event with activities that get people moving, like dancing or having a jump rope contest.
  • Exercise with friends.
  • Play with your kids or ask them to join you for an exercise video or fitness game.
  • Develop new friendships with physically active people. Join a group, such as the YMCA or a hiking club.
Energize Yourself
  • Plan to be active at times in the day or week when you feel you have a lot of energy.
  • Convince yourself that if you give it a chance, physical activity will increase your energy level—then try it.
Stay Motivated
  • Plan ahead. Make physical activity a regular part of your family's schedule. Write it on a family activity calendar.
  • Join an exercise group or class. Sign your children up for community sports teams or lessons.
  • Pick activities requiring no new skills, such as walking or climbing stairs.
  • Exercise with friends who are at the same skill level as you are. Create opportunities for your children to be active with friends.
Build New Skills
  • Find a friend who can teach you new skills.
  • Take a class to develop new skills and enroll your children in classes too, such as swimming, dancing, or tennis.
Use Available Resources
  • Select activities that don't need costly sports gear, such as walking, jogging, jumping rope, or doing push-ups.
  • Identify cheap, local resources in your area, such as programs through your community center, park or recreation group, or worksite.
Make the Most of All Conditions
  • Develop a set of activities for you and your family that are always available regardless of weather, such as indoor cycling, indoor swimming, stair climbing, rope skipping, mall walking, dancing, and active games that you can play indoors.

Copyright 2014 Erlanger A. Turner, Ph.D. 

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Get Psych'd with Dr. T - Visit my new blog site

 Hi all,

I have appreciated your support since I started by blog a few years ago. If you visit this site after Jan 2014, please also visit my website You can view my blog post there as well as other psychology and mental health information.


Dr. Erlanger Turner
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Be sure to also follow me on twitter @DrEarlTurner and visit my Facebook page!