July Is Diversity Mental Health Month

BlogTalkRadio Show on Diversity Mental Health, Friday, July 25, at 10 a.m.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has designated July as Diversity Mental Health Month. At the 2014 APA convention, clinicians nationwide were encouraged to organize and promote activities reflecting needs and issues important to their demographic.

On Friday, July 11, the APA hosted a Twitter chat on diversity. Participants included Roberto Lewis-Fernández, MD, professor of psychiatry and director of the NYS Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (CECC-NYSPI); Jennifer Humensky, PhD, assistant professor of clinical health policy & management (in psychiatry) and research director of CECC-NYSPI; and Oscar Jiménez-Solomon, MPH, research scientist and coordinator of CECC-NYSPI.

The Latino-specific mental health care topics discussed in the Twitter chat included:

Reasons for the mental health disparities affecting minorities, particularly Latinos, in the United States

  • Latinos are more likely than whites to be uninsured. They also have less access to mental health and psychiatric services. One study found that only 36 percent of Latinos with depression received treatment, compared with 60 percent of whites.
  • A landmark Surgeon General’s report found that stigma, discrimination, and racism are key reasons for mental health disparities.

Ways to help patients and clinicians communicate their views on mental health, including symptoms and preferred type of care

  • The Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI) is a tool in the DSM-5 to help clinicians and patients talk about views on the person’s illness, social support, prior care experiences, and care expectations.
  • A multi-site study across six countries and five continents found that the CFI is viewed as a feasible and acceptable cultural assessment tool.

The CFI can be accessed here.

Effects of the Affordable Care Act on efforts to reduce mental health disparities

  • In New York State, the Office of Mental Health is seeking to implement Health and Recovery Action Plans to provide psychiatric, rehabilitation, and recovery support not previously funded by Medicaid.
  • Even with the Affordable Care Act, because of the magnitude of the disparities and complexity of the health care system, it may take years to improve the situation. The exclusion of undocumented immigrants from health care reform is also a problem.

For more details, resources, and information about research studies, visit the New York Center for Excellence in Cultural Competence website. http://nyculturalcompetence.org/

Join Columbia Psychiatry’s Sidney Hankerson, MD, and Stephanie LeMelle, MD, for a BlogTalkRadio show on Friday, July 25, at 10 a.m. They will discuss “Mental health treatment disparities and faith-based research.” To listen, call 347-996-5875 or go to http://bit.ly/1twznUx.