Town Hall Focuses on Mental Health Disparities in the Black Community

Anyone can develop a mental health problem. It isn’t your fault or your family’s fault. Seeking treatment can help you live a fulfilled life and can strengthen you,  your family and professional career.

According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population. Common mental health disorders among Blacks include: depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), suicide, and Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is promenient because African Americans are more likely to be victims of violent crime.

This past weekend, mental health professionals held the Equity Funding and Resourcing Medical, Mental Health, and Human Services: Underserved Consumers and Communities in Crises summit to address Jacksonville’s challenges with dealing with health disparities among minority populations.

Most of the inequalities are concentrated primarily north of the St. Johns River; of which includes Duval County Health Department’s designated Health Zone 1.

Many sociologists have identified economic deprivation as a central cause of mental and physical illnesses, illiteracy, crime and violence. The summit focused on promoting voices for vulnerable populations and advocacy for underserved communities to stimulate community interest and involvement. The summit also identified root causes and viable solutions to stimulating community involvement in developing self-sufficient approaches to creating lasting change.

The two day summit was held at Edward Waters College Gymnasium. Day two of the summit featured a town hall styled discussion hosted by Ken Amaro of First Coast News. Amaro facilitated the question and answer session with representatives of city and state funding sources, public and private healthcare services providers and citizens. Subjects addressed included youth education and safety issues, seniors and grandparents raising grandchildren, equitable medical treatments and resources for African American, employment opportunities and workforce training.

Event organizers say that a report on results, expected outcomes and next steps is forth coming for participants and the community.

Shown is Ken Amaro answering questions from area residents.

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