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Nearly Half of BIPOC Individuals Say They Are Dissatisfied with Their Mental Health, according to Myriad Genetics Nationwide Survey

Nearly Half of BIPOC Individuals Say They Are Dissatisfied with Their Mental Health, according to Myriad Genetics Nationwide Survey

BIPOC respondents were less likely to seek help than the general population

SALT LAKE CITY, July 14, 2023 – Nearly half (47%) of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) individuals reported being dissatisfied with their mental health in the past year, according to the GeneSight® Mental Health Monitor, a nationwide survey from Myriad Genetics, Inc. (NASDAQ: MYGN).

“July is BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month, and we want to encourage all individuals of color to take care of themselves mentally,” said Gwendolyn Turner, VP, DEI and Learning + Development, Myriad Genetics. “We are sharing this data from the GeneSight Mental Health Monitor in the hopes that people will recognize that others may be suffering mentally. As a community and a society, we must work together to remove the stigma of mental illness and addiction, so that individuals can get the help they need and live their best lives.”

More than 75% of BIPOC individuals surveyed say they have used at least one addictive behavior and/or unhealthy coping mechanism to manage their mental health issues. These could include restricted or binge eating, excessive gambling, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, or even extreme social media use.

Further, the survey found that if asked about their unhealthy coping mechanisms, BIPOC individuals are significantly more likely to react by saying they were “just going through a rough patch” (45% of BIPOC vs. 35% general population). They were also significantly less likely to seek help –about a quarter (27%) of BIPOC individuals said they would “seek help” vs. approximately a third (35%) of the general population.

“The way an individual experiences, or works through, or becomes anxious or depressed is unique,” said Dr. Johnny Williamson, a psychiatrist in Chicago. “Things such as ethnicity, gender, sexuality, race, are very specific experiences that relate to the reality of how people walk through life.”

Only about half (55%) of BIPOC people have told others about the unhealthy coping mechanisms and behaviors that they use which may indicate a mental health issue. BIPOC individuals were less likely to tell their spouse/partner about these behaviors than the general population (only 42% would tell a spouse/partner vs. 50% of the general population). Only 37% of BIPOC respondents have spoken to a healthcare provider.

Innovations may help with medication selection

More than one in four (27%) of BIPOC respondents said “finding a medication that better relieves my symptoms” would be the most impactful step toward improving their mental health. 

“For those suffering from medication trial and error, the GeneSight test may be used to understand how gene-drug interactions can occur within a patient and how their body may likely metabolize or respond to the medicines,” said Dr. Williamson. “I use the information provided by the test to better explain why treatment choices are made. This helps me reduce perceived bias by using objective information to help make decisions, and helps some of my patients feel more comfortable with their treatment plan – especially if they were initially reluctant to take a mental health medication.”

“Cost of living” negatively impacting Hispanic respondents’ mental health

Roughly half (51%) of respondents who identify as Hispanic say the factor most negatively impacting their mental health in the past year is the “cost of living,” which is greater than the general population (42%).  According to a study published in an independent peer reviewed journal, GeneSight testing  resulted in an average annual prescription savings of more than $1,000 per patient when healthcare providers had access to the test results to inform  treatment decisions compared with usual trial-and-error prescribing. 1†

Other factors they say negatively impacted their mental health included:

Which of the following are the TOP THREE FACTORS that have NEGATIVELY IMPACTED your MENTAL HEALTH during the PAST YEAR? Hispanic General Population
Ability to support my family 35%* 29%
Relationships with family member or friend 33% 36%
Body image 24% 25%
Death of close friend/family member 19% 20%
What others think of me 17% 16%
Politics 10% 8%
Gun violence 7% 5%
Religion 3% 3%
Discrimination or racism 4% 3%

* Significantly higher

Mental health challenges prevented nearly six in 10 Hispanic respondents (57%) from having high self-esteem, 43% from being “the friend they wanted to be,” and 43% from attending social engagements.

“Generational health”: Black respondents say seeing a mental health provider helped mental health
For many Black respondents, poor mental health prevented them from doing the things they loved or wanted/needed to do:

Which of the following, if any, did your MENTAL HEALTH PREVENT you from doing/being in the PAST YEAR? African American General Population
Attending social engagements 52%* 45%
Having high self esteem 49% 54%
Meeting other commitments 40% 40%
Being the spouse/partner I want to be 38% 38%
Being the friend I want to be 37% 43%
Doing my best at work 36% 38%
Going to work 31% 32%
Parenting the way I want to 27% 25%

* Significantly higher/significantly lower

“For people of color, rather than talking about generational wealth, we should be talking about generational health,” said Whitnee Brown, doctor of nursing practice (DNP), dually board certified CRNP family practice & psychiatric mental health, Birmingham, Ala. “It is important to start where you are and seek mental health treatment, knowing there are services available to you, like therapy, medication or other treatments. You have to start somewhere so that you can pass on that generational health to others.”

Nearly half (45%) of Black respondents said exercise helped their mental health (compared to 41% of general population respondents). Seeing a psychologist/therapist/counselor was cited by 27% of Black respondents as something that helped their mental health over the past year, which was more than the general population (20%).

Additional survey results, video and graphics are available at genesight.com/mental-health-monitor. For more information about the GeneSight test, please visit GeneSight.com. For tips and tactics on ways to improve mental health outside of treatment, visit our Brighter Days Challenge GeneSight.com/BrighterDays.

About the GeneSight Mental Health Monitor

The GeneSight Mental Health Monitor is a nationwide survey conducted online by ACUPOLL Precision Research, Inc. in February 2023 among a statistically representative sample (n=1000) of U.S. adults age 18+. The survey included a representative sample of adults diagnosed with depression and anxiety, as well as BIPOC adults. The margin of error in survey results for the total base population at a 95% confidence interval is +/- 3%. Significant means the difference is statistically significant compared to the general population.

About the GeneSight Test

The GeneSight Psychotropic test from Myriad Genetics is the category-leading pharmacogenomic test for 64 medications commonly prescribed for depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other psychiatric conditions. The GeneSight test can help inform clinicians about how a patient’s genes may impact how they metabolize and/or respond to certain psychiatric medications. Tens of thousands of clinicians have ordered the GeneSight test for more than two million patients in order to receive genetic information that is unique to each patient. The GeneSight test supplements other information considered by a clinician as part of a comprehensive medical assessment. Learn more at GeneSight.com.

About Myriad Genetics

Myriad Genetics is a leading genetic testing and precision medicine company dedicated to advancing health and well-being for all. Myriad develops and offers genetic tests that help assess the risk of developing disease or disease progression and guide treatment decisions across medical specialties where genetic insights can significantly improve patient care and lower healthcare costs. For more information, visit www.myriad.com.

Myriad, the Myriad logo, BRACAnalysis, BRACAnalysis CDx, Colaris, Colaris AP, MyRisk, Myriad MyRisk, MyRisk Hereditary Cancer, MyChoice CDx, Prequel, Prequel with Amplify, Amplify, Foresight, Precise, FirstGene, SneakPeek, Health.Illuminated, RiskScore, Prolaris, GeneSight, and EndoPredict are trademarks or registered trademarks of Myriad Genetics, Inc. © 2023 Myriad Genetics, Inc. All rights reserved.

Categories include:

  • Drinking – Socially or alone
  • Marijuana – Smoking or edibles
  • Drug use – Sedatives, stimulants, hallucinogens, anesthetics, or inhalants (not including marijuana)
  • Excessive gambling – Sports or non-sports
  • Binge/restrictive food, sleeping, or exercise
  • Excessive social media or video gaming
  • Binging TV or movies
  • Clubbing/partying

1 Winner et al. Curr Med Research & Opin. (2015)
† Not all patients who receive the GeneSight Psychotropic test will experience cost savings.