Unequal Care: Mental Health and Black Americans


In partnership with the Columbia School of Journalism, Columbia Psychiatry hosted “Unequal Care: Mental Health and Black Americans.”

“The problem is the mental health infrastructure, particularly for people of color, is wholly inadequate. We have not invested in the resources necessary for public health care, behavioral health care, and of course that compounds the challenges that black and brown communities face in trying to access needed services. We are unfortunately going to reap the consequences of that lack of investment, but we got to start planning now to mitigate the challenge.” – Dr. Angela Coombs

This wide-ranging conversation with Dr. Brian Smedley, from the American Psychological Association, and Drs. Sidney Hankerson and Angela Coombs, from the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry, discusses how structural inequalities in the field of mental healthcare have had a tangible impact on Black Americans for generations. The wide ranging, discussion touches on how those inequalities have affected the Black community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the increased focus on police brutality in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, as well as on a host of other issues, ranging from addiction to the lack of representation in mental healthcare.


inequality, Black Americans