mental health services

Normalizing the Use of Mental Health Services for People of Color, Different Cultures

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

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Within the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is the Office of Mental Health Equity, a division dedicated to helping communities of color in need of mental health and substance use assistance through culturally competent programs.

Samia Hussein is the division’s director, working to help people connect with the services the state makes available. She’s working to get in between stigma and other long-standing community challenges that can make it hard for people of color to engage with mental health services.

That’s where her office tries to step in with culturally diverse, aware clinicians who work directly with the community to help. 

Hussein said that often, cultural stigma and shame can prevent people from seeking out or accepting help to manage challenges around mental health.

“That stigma in and of itself translates in communities of color and in different cultures," Hussein said.

She hopes that through the department’s work in the community and in various faith settings, more people will normalize talking about mental health, creating safer spaces for people to see out assistance.

“We need to talk about it. We need to make sure it's surfacing up. It’s at family dinners, it’s at faith communities. It’s at our next sermon and churches and mosques and synagogues. We really need to address it and how can we address something we don’t know and don’t talk about?” Hussein said.

DHMAS partners with the United Way to connect residents with services. You can call 2-1-1 to be connected with someone who can help.

You can contact the Office of Multicultural Health Equity and seek completely confidential assistance by clicking here.

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