NORFOLK, Va., July 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and ValueOptions ®, Inc., a health improvement company specializing in mental and emotional wellbeing and recovery, recognizes that people across every demographic deserve good mental health. One in four adults in the United States will experience a mental illness in a given year. With racial and ethnic minority groups expected to account for 90 percent of the increase in the national population by 2050, a larger number of minority citizens than ever before will experience a mental health issue.
Sadly, many minority citizens forgo care for behavioral health issues in fear of being stigmatized by their community. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), fewer than one in 11 Latinos with a mental disorder contact mental health care specialists, and due to cultural stereotypes, many Latinos find they are simply dismissed as having "anger issues" or conduct disorders. African-Americans have reported a similar cultural disconnect to healthcare providers, while others forgo professional support in fear of being stigmatized by their community.
To combat these numbers, ValueOptions is a member of the National Council for Behavioral Health, a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for access to comprehensive behavioral health services for all Americans. One initiative developed by the National Council is the Addressing Health Disparities Leadership Program, a 10-month forum made up of 15 mid-level managers from community mental health and addiction prevention, treatment and recovery settings. Through both in-person and virtual learning opportunities, participants are guided on the needs of underserved populations, cultural differences as they relate to treatment, and the skills they need to more effectively manage employees."We created the Addressing Health Disparities Leadership Program to build a more diverse behavioral health community, and to develop leaders for the evolving healthcare demographic," said Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health. "Through a unique structure of peer-to-peer learning and guidance from expert consultants, participants develop both management skills and cultural competence to assist them in providing high-quality care responsive to all communities." For further information on the Addressing Health Disparities Leadership Program and program applications, which will be accepted through July 19, visit www.thenationalcouncil.org. In addition to nurturing a generation of leaders in behavioral healthcare, recognizing the stigma surrounding mental illness as a barrier to care is a crucial step in supporting those facing a mental illness. Stamp Out Stigma, an initiative developed to foster a dialogue about behavioral health by educating the public on the prevalence of mental illness, shares personal experiences of those impacted by a mental health issue and provides resources available to those who need help.