Here’s an article that outlines one of the obstacles that people face when they need to navigate the mental health system. The mental health providers are constantly trying to provide services to under-served populations despite budget cuts and lack of funds.
As this article shows, there is a very large need for services in the immigrant communities, but due to language and social customs, many who need help cannot or will not receive any.
After reading this article, please let me know what you think of this situation and tell me if you have ideas for solutions to these types of problems, won’t you? Here’s the link to the original source.
July 15, 2010
CONCORD, N.H. – July is National Minority Mental Health Month. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in four people suffer from some form of mental illness.
Mental health issues do not discriminate when it comes to race, gender or income level, says Richard Duran, executive director of the New Hampshire Minority Health Coalition. Duran notes the state has seen an influx of refugees and immigrants in recent years from places like Iraq and Africa – and he points to many hurdles in those communities in terms of connecting to mental health services.
“They have difficulties getting help, especially due to language barriers. On the opposite side, our organizations, our facilities, are not prepared to deal with that; very few agencies have interpreters in-house.”
Duran says his agency has several folks who are bilingual, but many in the state do not. That is why his agency has partnered with NAMI-New Hampshire to begin the “Prayer, Compassion and Unity Campaign.” It will reach out to various places of worship around the state to encourage dialogue among residents about mental health and to connect people to appropriate mental health services. He says minorities in general tend to see the church as a trusted and safe environment, and will often turn to their faith leaders for advice and help.
Bernice Lopez with NAMI-New Hampshire says that in addition to language barriers, many of the state’s diverse communities face a host of other challenges, from lack of insurance to cultural issues.
“It’s so stigmatized. When people may be feeling depressed or down, in certain cultures that may be associated with just being weak.”
Lopez says education plays the biggest role when it comes to mental health issues. She says letting people know that it is indeed an illness – not a flaw – is a crucial component in getting people to seek the help they need.
Monique Coppola, Public News Service – NH
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