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Barriers still exist in getting people of color access to mental health resources

A local mental health counselor told 2 On Your Side she's noticed an increase in the desire for mental health resources, but access is not equal.

BUFFALO, New York — In the year since the death of George Floyd and the weeks of protests that followed, increased attention has been put on the need for mental health resources in communities of color. 

2 On Your Side’s Karys Belger spoke with a local mental health counselor about what she’s noticed and also why it’s important to make sure resources are available for all communities. 

Erin M. Moss, a local mental health counselor explained the stigma around mental illness, distrust of the medical system, and a lack of culturally competent providers were barriers to care for people of color.

"As private clinicians, we have to make sure we’re getting the training to meet the needs of the clients that want to talk with us", she told 2 On Your Side's Karys Belger.

Moss also mentioned a lack of access to mental health providers of color may serve as a barrier because patients may feel more comfortable with someone who has some of the same shared experiences.

A report published by the American Psychological Association cited the same reasons Moss did for black people not being able to access mental health resources. It also mentioned cost and the lack of insurance coverage for therapy as a barrier. 

Moss also recommended for those who cannot get to a therapist for one reason or another seek out community resources or find other ways to destress by finding small activities.