Mental Health Inequality Research: An Introduction to New Directions

In early 2020, before the United States began shutting down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the leadership of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) acknowledged the need to address persistent mental health inequalities. in the country, despite significant advances in mental health in terms of access to and quality of care. Although the complexities associated with reducing inequality and the skills needed for culturally and linguistically appropriate care and research are becoming more widely known and accepted, the significant reduction in mental health inequality and the identification of strategies affecting minority mental health remains elusive. This recognition and the urgent desire to address the issue prompted the NIMH to collaborate with the National Institute on Minority Health and Inequality for Health (NIMHD) in planning and sponsoring a workshop (1). This two-day virtual workshop was organized to encourage conversation about current research and to identify knowledge gaps and innovative strategies to address the challenges of mental health inequality research. The workshop was attended by a diverse group of researchers who provided brief insights into innovative multidimensional approaches to addressing the challenge of inequalities in mental health and mental health care, and served as a think tank that created new perspectives for research firms and health systems. in favor of an equity agenda. I was one of the co-chairs involved in the planning and convening of this workshop, and one of the important recommendations we received from the workshop participants was to distill and disseminate the information and knowledge shared in the workshop to help raise awareness of health inequalities. reduction and equity efforts.

The idea for this special issue arose from this interest in disseminating information about the virtual workshop to the general public. As the concept of the special issue began to develop, the aim was to highlight innovative and multidimensional research on inequalities that could be translated to inform the clinical practice that promotes health equity. There was also interest in highlighting workshop information, describing historical issues and contexts related to mental health inequalities, and articulating innovative directions for future research and care for mental health inequalities from a variety of perspectives represented in the workshop. After much planning and coordination American Journal of Psychiatry The editors determined that some of the NIH Institute leaders and researchers present at the workshop would provide brief insights into the presentations by writing general reports. Magazine.

Therefore, the writings in this special issue reflect the views and reflections of NIMH and NIMHD fellows / researchers, program staff, and leadership among the many participants and participants who made the virtual workshop a success. These articles range from conceptual and theoretical commentary to a historical and contextual perspective on the study of future inequalities. On behalf of my chair and colleagues who helped plan, compile and support the virtual workshop and related activities, I would like to thank all those who attended and attended, and I am proud to present this special issue as a collection that will continue. to inspire and promote relevant research and clinical work to advance mental health equity.

National Institute on Minority Health and Inequality, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

The author states that he has no financial relationship with commercial interests.

This work was written as part of the author’s official duties as a government employee. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NIMHD, the NIH, or the United States Government.


1. NIMH Office for Inequality Research and Worker Diversity and the National Institute for Minority Health and Inequality for Minorities: Workshop: Identifying New Directions for Mental Health Inequalities Research: Innovations with a Multidimensional Lens. Scholar


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