The rash of highly visible, racially-charged violence in cities like Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore, Maryland, McKinney, Texas, Charleston, South Carolina, highlights a critical mental health issue and a public health crisis. Experiencing and witnessing violence or traumatic events can adversely affect one’s mental health. Children and adults in these situations can experience trauma-related disorders that interfere with healthy functioning.School children exposed to violence may have difficulty sleeping, concentrating, and maintaining attention, which puts them at-risk for poor school performance.
Main page content
Discrimination exacerbates health and health care disparities for communities of color. Inequity results in lack of access to quality, affordable care and can lead to prolonged and unnecessary illness. This is especially true for people with a mental illness or substance use disorder. During July, National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, we shine a light on the discrimination that minorities often experience when living with a mental health condition, and learn how we can prevent it.Even as conversations about behavioral health become more common in our country, negative perceptions about mental illness and addiction continue to be a major barrier to seeking care, especially in minority communities.
Joseph Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Persons Affected by Addiction (APAA) of Dallas, Texas, grew up during the civil rights movement. He and his eight siblings experienced violence inside and outside their home and Powell began using alcohol and drugs as a way to cope with life.“Growing up in poverty and with the constant fear of violence contributed to my addiction. My family didn’t have access to the behavioral health benefits that are now covered under the Affordable Care Act. I’m grateful that families like mine can now receive the prevention and treatment services for substance use disorders that I didn’t have,” Powell said.
SAMHSA is continuing a series of online webinar trainings to educate individuals and organizations who serve African American, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI), Hispanic/Latino, and urban Indian communities about enrolling for health coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace.Register today for SAMHSA’s outreach and enrollment webinar series and share this information with your networks!
ACA Outreach & Enrollment in Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities: Promising Practices | Register
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 | 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM ET
Marlena Vaifale understands the importance of having health insurance. In 2013, she was diagnosed with pre-diabetes and gallstones, which led to the removal of her gallbladder. She has had health insurance all her life, but did not take full advantage of the preventive services available to her for annual physicals. If she had, she would have made wiser and healthier choices.
Mental health matters. Communities across the country have been embracing this notion by hosting conversations to increase understanding and awareness of mental health. One year ago, the city of Albuquerque, NM held a bilingual dialogue about mental health that involved hundreds of English and Spanish speaking residents in identifying next steps to address the mental health needs of young people in their community.