Postpartum depression does not discriminate when it comes to race, socio-economic status, education or ethnicity means that anyone can suffer from this illness.
The Duxbury tragedy affects all of us even when you don’t know the family involved. However, access to mental health treatment is often not available particularly to poor families and people of color in marginalized communities. Studies show that twice as many White adults utilize mental health services (18.3%) compared to Black and Hispanic adults (8.9% and 8.7% respectively), according to a recent report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).This is a huge wake up call for Massachusetts to increase awareness and services around mental health to all people no matter the zip code.
As the CEO and Founder of Ferreras Counseling and Wellness Center, a mental and behavioral health clinic serving the Latino and minority communities in Jamaica Plain, Lawrence and Lynn, Latino and Black individuals and their families are more at risk of suffering serious mental illness than white families because of the lack of financial resources or insurance, structural barriers and social stigma as stated in the report by SAMHSA. In addition, people of color face unique obstacles with healthcare professionals because of cultural and language challenges.
As a mental health professional and a mother, I am deeply saddened by the tragedy in Duxbury. It is my hope that this devastating event will bring about much needed change in mental health awareness and resources for all communities. Like the mantra our country adopted after the 911 terrorist attacks, “If you see something, say something,” our mental health care system is under attack. There is an urgent need for our state to do more to de-stigmatize depression and ensure that all people have access and resources to appropriate mental health care.
Dr. Maria Ferreras, PHD, LMHC
CEO & Founder, Ferreras Counseling & Wellness Center
891 Centre St.