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Local professionals explain why diversity is needed in mental health

Diversity in the mental health field
Posted at 6:56 AM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 12:01:27-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — September is Suicide Prevention Month, and News5 is taking a closer look at the demographics in the mental health field.

More and more people of color are seeking help to cope, fueling the need for more people of color in the mental health field. The American Psychiatric Association, recently found striking lack of diversity, among industry professionals. Roughly 86 percent of psychologists in the U.S. are white. Only four percent are African-American, five percent are Hispanic, and another five percent are Asian.

News5 found two men who help make up these demographics. Doctor Robert Atwell owns his own practice in Boulder and in Denver. Doctor Anthony Young practiced and taught psychology in Colorado Springs. Both men have over 40 years of experience.

I got into psychology because I wanted to first help myself," Dr. Young explained. "If I was able to solve some of my personal issues, then maybe I am worthy enough to help someone else solve theirs."

The APA also found, African Americans often receive inadequate quality of care, and overall lack access to practitioners who are culturally understanding.

Everybody benefits from engaging with health human beings when they are problem solving," Dr. Atwell said. "I'd like to think I am a card carrying healthy person!"

Both men are members of the Rocky Mountain Association of Black Psychologists.