Access to care is not same for all

Health care disparity is a significant issue that often is disregarded and affects primarily ethnic minorities and those of low socioeconomic status. These disparities can be traced to the unethical use of African American female bodies for experiments and practice of medical procedures. This mindset, still present today, has led us to a system consumed by disparity, a known and unspoken injustice that can be a costly mistake for an already fragile and vulnerable population.

Disparities in health care often lead to many not seeking care that they so desperately need whether mental or physical. The idea that mental health care is not as accepted because of the misconception that it will not help or that it means you are not normal fosters the stigma that we can do this alone.

Mental illness is not discriminatory. It does not care if you are wealthy or of middle or low income. According to the American Psychiatric Association, 18 percent of U.S. adults have a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year and 48 percent of whites receive mental health services compared to 31 percent of blacks and Hispanics. One in three African Americans who need mental health care receives it.

Do not allow this or the idea of subpar care to be acceptable any longer. Minorities are not receiving equitable care despite the obvious fact that everyone deserves quality care regardless of their ethnicity or socioeconomic status.

Through education, we can teach and encourage that seeking mental health care is not a moment of shame but instead a moment of freedom. By increasing access to care, we provide everyone with an equal opportunity to receive the care to which they are entitled.

Lastly, by improving the quality of care so that it is more culturally competent and efficient, we can prevent under or misdiagnosis and improve the confidence in the care that is being received. Of all the things in the world that are unjust and lack equality, health care should not be one of them.

Latonya L. Jones

Fort Knox

Social workers live with danger

Every day, thousands of social workers in this country put their lives at risk to ensure the protection of those they serve in the community. These brave men and women perform their due diligence, knowing they are walking into a risky and sadly, fatal situation in some cases, without protection and without a means to properly defend themselves, should they be harmed.

It is disappointing that the a social worker’s state expects there to be individuals to ensure other people’s safety, while providing little to none to the worker themselves. These individuals are sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. These individuals are people within the community who risk losing their lives to protect others, yet rank so low on society’s value system, that they cannot receive any sort support in regards to their safety.

This knowledge can deter many from joining the field of social work and can keep those within the field from creating a lifelong career. This issue is affecting communities nationwide, as communities are severely understaffed in the field of social work, which compromises the safety of the individuals in their community.

Recommendations that can be presented to lawmakers to provide safety to social workers could be implementing the use of body cams when a social worker is conducting an investigation, allocating funds to provide social workers with self-defense courses or implementing a system in which two social workers are called to investigate a case.

It is imperative that the safety of social workers be treated as critical issue brought to lawmakers attention as communities depend on their support and service and the provided recommendations can help ensure that social workers, who are risking their lives to ensure other’s safety, are able to receive a fair amount of safety provided to them. These men and women contribute so much and risk so much to provide some sort of stability to their community. It is disheartening that they are not provided some sort of insurance to protect themselves.

Carina Richards


(3) comments


Ms. Richards,
Another thought provoking article. Thank you. I offer that an appropriate solution to help insure the safety of social workers is to make the acquisition of a CCW an integral part of the job. If you carry then you have the means to protect yourself.


This is a difficult letter to address. You mention a multitude of issues yet I don’t see any solutions presented. I’m going to provide my opinion to your main topics.

1. Access to health care. I offer this is an economic issue and has nothing to do with race. Kentucky under the previous governor decided to expand its Medicaid rolls based on the promise of the Federal Government paying the bill for a couple of years. There was no plan for what was going to happen after the Feds stopped paying the bill. Medicaid access means that taxpayers pay for the treatment and access. Close to 50% of the people in this nation, do not pay taxes. That means the other 50% have to foot the bill for the remaining 50%. In my opinion that is not fair and borders on insane if you think I like the fact that I’m paying for my family and half the rest of the population that don’t want to work or make less than I do. The current governor offered that those that use Medicaid should have work requirements that was met with immediate resistance. I offer that we need the government out of the health care business. Get out and let individuals pay for their own insurance or hospital bills. Some people will not have health care access and that sucks but it sure does make a huge incentive to go to work and get your own health care.

2. Race Issues. What does race have to do with this topic? You have coined this diatribe in such a manner that you insinuate that race is the primary factor driving health care access. Do you really think that health care access determination is based on the outcome of unethical experiments on females of color? This kind of thought process actually detracts from logical thought and produces unwarranted emotions versus providing realistic solutions. I go back to my first hypothesis that economics is what drives access and that our health care will fail because of a lack of individuals providing for their own health care. Again, get the government out of the health care industry. Race has absolutely no bearing on health care access.

3. Mental Illness. I concur with some of your discussion. If you are mentally ill then we as a state and country should attempt to provide care. Historically, this nation and the world use to institutionalize the mentally ill. On its surface, that sounds terrible but there were good aspects to this practice. The mentally ill could get a tremendous amount of care and were kept safe from themselves and others. The cost was they were put inside of an institution away from their families. In the late 60s, this country began a deinstitutionalization movement resulting in the mentally ill receiving treatment at local facilities. The good aspect of this is that they could be around their families and friends. The bad part is that often they did not receive proper treatment and they were often a danger to themselves and others. I don’t have an answer to this issue. It is a challenge but again, it has nothing to do with race.

I thought your presentation was thought provoking but truly misguided due to your insistence that this is primarily a race issue. Health care is a human issue. Please don’t distract us from this important issue.


Outstanding, Dono.

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