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Mental disorders adversely affect individuals, family systems, our national infrastructure, and the global economy. In the United States, mental disorders account for more than 15% of the burden of disease from all causes, and their respective direct costs and indirect costs are estimated to be $69.0 billion and $78.6 billion. These data indicate the social effects of mental disorders and reflect their staggering economic impact on our Nation in its entirety. There exist, however, a paucity of empirical data that describe the impact and effects of mental disorders on our Nation’s racial/ethnic minority groups, defined in this report as African Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics. Members of these groups remain underrepresented or unreported in most studies of mental illness, although they are overrepresented among the conditions thought to generate susceptibility to, or prolong the effects of, mental illness, such as poverty, racism, homelessness, incarceration, substance abuse, and poor access to health care. Thus the burden of mental illness falls disproportionately on minority groups. The Workgroup believes that an important component in reducing that burden will be to bring a diverse population of research investigators to the task. (National Advisory)
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services