National Leaders in the Mental Health Aspects
of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
This week we are sharing an article, "Where Mental Health and Social Justice Meet," from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Culture of Health Blog. Our recent studies indicate that African-Americans with IDD and mental health needs likely suffer from the same disparities in access to care as described in this report. The National START Network continues to work together to overcome these barriers. An important step is awareness, please share this important article with your local communities.
A leader committed to the mental health and healing of black communities shares his insights.
A few years ago, I read a painfully insightful account in the New York Times of what it means to be a black American struggling with mental health. The author vividly describes how socio-historical “trauma lives in our blood,” materializing in our daily lives, and ultimately affecting our mental health.
Compounding these problems are the many barriers that prevent African-Americans from receiving adequate mental health services. These include stigma, and a lack of representation among and trust of providers.
An inspiring leader I recently met—Mr. Yolo Akili Robinson—is dedicated to addressing this very problem. Robinson received a 2018 RWJF Award for Health Equity, which honors leaders who are changing systems and showing how solutions at the community level can lead to health equity. He is the executive director of BEAM, which stands for Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective. BEAM trains health care providers and community activists to be sensitive to the issues that plague black communities. BEAM has many programs that focus on men, boys, and nongender-conforming people. > Continue Reading