Working Towards a Better Tomorrow
Position Statement: Mental Health Care Disparities among DeKalb County Ethnic Minorities
NAMI DeKalb believes that all individuals have a right to quality mental health care. Numerous studies have established that mental illness can dramatically affect an individual’s health and well-being. However, there are significant mental health care disparities among ethnic minorities. NAMI DeKalb supports increased measures to ensure that all members of the DeKalb community have access to the mental health treatment they need.
Call to Action
NAMI Dekalb proposes the following actions to improve the care of minority individuals in Dekalb County:
● Create a program to collect and analyze mental health data in Dekalb County.
● Develop programs that reduce the cost of mental health care for individuals without
adequate insurance plans.
● Expand reach of culturally sensitive NAMI Signature programs into ethnic minority
● Provide training for mental health professionals on cultural competency.
● Promote programs to increase diversity among mental health practitioners.
Position Statement: Transition Age Youth & Mental Illness
Transition age youth (ages 18-24) can be especially vulnerable to mental illness. With significant life changes and growing independence from caregivers, this age can be exceptionally stressful. This stress can exacerbate mental illness. Effects from lack of mental illness treatment can be profound, such as health and development concerns, lower educational achievements, substance abuse, violence, and poor reproductive and sexual health (Patel, Flisher, Hetrick, & McGorry, 2007) . NAMI DeKalb believes it is imperative to address the needs of this population and avoid the destructive consequences lack of treatment generates.
Call to Action
NAMI DeKalb presents the following suggestions to address mental health issues common to transition age youth:
● Develop care programs that gradually transition youth from pediatric mental health care
● Provide financial and social support programs for youth transitioning out of foster care.
● Increase mental health awareness with promotional activities around college campuses,
such as the NAMI on Campus program.
● Increase access to peer-led mental health support groups, such as NAMI Connection
Recovery Support groups.