National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
As we continue to struggle with our history as a nation, the focus on minority mental health and the impact of generational trauma is brought to the forefront. While this July has become a focus on making movement to change, July is also National Minority Mental Health Awareness, which sets an appropriate timeline for us to focus on the increasing need for access to culturally-skilled, mental health practitioners and the ongoing obstacles to access to treatment. Hoyleton Youth and Family Services understands that cohesion and personal well-being in the community are essential to the progress and development. Together with Puentes de Esperanza, Hoyleton’s therapy department works with local partners to help make mental health services more accessible to minority communities.
There are varying reasons why access to mental health care adversely affects communities of color. Common barriers to access to care include, but are not limited to, healthcare coverage, lack of services and mental health providers within the community, fear and stigma to mental health, cultural competency, and sensitivity to belief structures are just a few reasons. Hoyleton therapist, Federico Parola, works closely with the immigrant communities within St. Clair and Madison counties and noticed what a lack of funding is doing to limit access to mental health care. “Funding is a concern as we try to serve more individuals. We are receiving support in the form of grants, but the need is often four or five times the provided fund allotment,” states Parola. Individuals seeking mental health care are adults in their 30s to 60s and are actively engaged in their mental well-being. The population Parola works with include single moms working the line in manufacturing jobs and are scared about their health during a time when COVID-19 numbers are rising among communities of color. “Individuals’ anxiety levels have increased. People are making the hard decision between financially caring for their families or their health due to continued possible exposure to COVID-19. Obstacles to mental health services are always about access to resources. This community doesn’t have the natural support like other individuals living in a different area.”
Hoyleton is conscious of the connection between resources and access to mental health care. Our organization strives to build coalitions with local community leaders to bridge the gap in mental health services in minority communities by pooling resources. “Hoyleton staff members are engaging with for-profit businesses to be a part of Hoyleton’s mission. We encourage businesses’ to see their participation as an investment in the communities they serve,” states Parola, “We continue to stay in touch with our community resources, whether we are using the libraries to see clients closer to home, or in the case of a local bank, creating educational workshops that benefit the community.” Hoyleton’s goal is to encourage businesses great and small to be a part of the solution in making diverse communities a place for mutual well-being for all residents. Mr. Parola notes that in his role as a therapist, he is often used as an interpreter. These interactions provide opportunities to engage with school leadership, businesses, and other civic organizations for the continued advocacy of minorities and strengthening community bonds.
Hoyleton will be here to help make change. We encourage you to reach out to us if you are an individual, civic leader or business owner interested in partnering with Hoyleton for change within your community. For more information on how you can be a part of the solution, you can call Hoyleton at 618.688.4727. Be the difference in your community. CARE today and we will CHANGE tomorrow.
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