Equity during BIPOC awareness month
the COVID-19 pandemic and Floyd protests are two national crises that have hit hard the black and brown community of the United States, and just as these events have shown and exasperated previous disparities in health care.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted inequalities in mental and behavioral health care systems stemming from existing barriers in the social determinants of health.
In June, the Buffalo Chapter hosted an event to help people cope with these events, said Alaina Jones, co-chair of the Buffalo NAACP branch young adult coordinating committee.
“We wanted to continue the conversation about mental health in the African American community,” Jones said.
July is black, native and colored or BIPOC [Minority] Mental Health Awareness Month and throughout the month, the Buffalo Chapter of the NAACP will host weekly Facebook Lives.
“There always seems to be a stigma within our community about mental health, so by talking about it and bringing in professionals, we wanted to help reduce that stigma and bring more education and resources to our community. community, ”she said.
In the first two live Facebook chats, the two guests discuss the need for cultural competence and compassion in mental health care – with the first live chat discuss a global perspective on this issue and the second cat focusing specifically on the mental health of black women.
“We know black lives matter and now is the time to recognize and understand that black mental health is also important,” Jones said. “It’s a great first step in organizing these events. “
Jones hopes to continue these efforts with the local health committee.
About 30 percent of African Americans with mental illness receive treatment compared to 43 percent of the total population of the population suffering from mental illness, according to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Blacks and Latinos who have behavioral health needs often have more limited access to the treatment they need, end treatment earlier and receive less culturally sensitive care, according to the report. Addiction and Mental Health Administration.
Other infuriating barriers to treatment are insurance companies who often deny mental and behavioral health care coverage, despite federal and state laws.
In 2018, the New York State Attorney General’s Office released a report investigate several complaints of unwarranted denial of mental health care, including the restriction of coverage for medically assisted treatment drugs such as subloxone.
During BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo advanced new regulation require insurers to provide fair behavioral health coverage.
Under the proposed regulation, this parity program must identify gaps in the coverage of mental health and addiction services, among others. Public comments on this topic will be accepted. until September 7.
“New Yorkers have sacrificed a lot to bend the curve of COVID-19, but with the increase in the number of cases across the country and the mental health challenges facing many of our fellow New Yorkers, our work is far from over, ”Cuomo said. “These new regulations will help people with mental health and addiction issues by requiring insurers to provide the coverage and benefits they need.”
The Buffalo Chapter of the NAACP works to address systemic racism and discrimination not only socio-economically and politically, but also within the healthcare system, Jones said.
“We stress the importance for people to register to vote, to vote and to exercise their right to vote,” she said. “But also [about] also take care of our mental and physical health. We care about the whole person.
The next NAACP Buffalo Chapter Facebook Live Chat will be on July 20 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. EST on their Facebook page.