California Equity in Mental Health Survey: A Statewide Poll of Black Women & Latinas

Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) and Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE)® have released a historic statewide poll and report on the current state of mental health for Black and Latina women in California. The report and data aim to uplift challenges Black and Latina women face in accessing mental health care and their priorities for approaches to create greater equity in the provision of mental health care.

The report calls for key investments to be made by healthcare providers and universities to increase the number of women of color who enter mental health professions, for healthcare provides to lower costs, and for community groups to bridge the lack of knowledge women have about mental health care.

Latinx and Black Americans, young people, women, and those with low incomes are most at risk of mental health challenges and are the populations most burdened by the social determinants of health. The added layer of the COVID-19 pandemic, heightened economic crisis and instability, more visible expressions of White supremacy, anti-Blackness, anti-immigrant sentiment, and hate-crimes aimed at Black and Brown communities have increased this burden exponentially.  Current health and mental health care delivery and support systems have not been designed or equipped to support the needs of Black women and Latinas. According to the Medical Board of California, only four percent (4%) of active psychiatrists practicing in California are Latino and only two percent (2%) are Black. 

The survey conducted by EVITARUS polled 800 California women who identify as Black, African American, and/or Hispanic/Latina. The survey was conducted in English and Spanish and fielded August 17-30, 2022. This work was made possible through a grant from Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit Programs.

In addition to this study, the HOPE and BWOPA/TILE collaboration will include community listening sessions and a job fair to promote mental health careers to Black and Latina young professionals.