Mental Health Access

Mental Health Access

Introduction
Mental health care access among the African American adults has been an issue over the past years with minimal progress. A SWOT analysis has proven to deliver organizations from deep losses to profitability through tactical, realistic objective and strategic assessment. Mental health access among the African Americans is a problem that calls for a strategic and objective campaign and SWOT analysis fits perfectly in the puzzle. The SWOT analysis will unravel grievous internal and external issues in the health department, the mental health division. The tool will also determine the strengths as areas that the department should focus on further while handling the weaknesses (Gaston et al., 2016). The opportunities that should be seized help to diversify ways of solving the problem. Exposing threats is a route towards finding means of dealing with them and the SWOT analysis helps in determining the threats.

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Strengths


Availability of educational resources
It is important to note that speaking up about mental health issues can save multiple lives as the stigma around it fades away. The African American community have faced this battle for a long time, but the knowledge of an institution, organization or some individuals are committed to saving mentally ill people helps enough. In Alabama, for instance, Dr Eliza Belle is committed to erasing the negative stigma of mental illness in the black community with great passion (Kimble, 2016). California has registered a non-profit organization comprising of mental health professionals and volunteers who provide mental health support to low-income families in Alameda County. Almost all states have registered supportive organizations and dedicated individuals who devote their time and resources towards helping the mentally ill among the African Americans. Various psychologists and mental health professionals have developed articles that preach about mental health awareness (Kimble, 2016). The materials have made it possible for men and women suffering from mental illnesses to seek counsel and medical help since the stigma has reduced.

Mental Health App
All races go through mental illnesses, but the black community still suffer shame, denial or lack of knowledge on the subject. The African Americans have a 20% higher chance of experiencing mental illnesses because of their living conditions. To date, some of them think the psychological problem is a sickness of the whites; hence, they fail to seek any medical help. The minority health app dubbed “The Safe Place” is a digital platform powered by Android that is geared towards bringing more awareness, hope and education about this serious issue (Pierre, 2018). The app will benefit mental health professionals, family and friends of all races so that they can be better educated and help in directing their African American friends or relatives to visit the app for help. The features of the app can serve as a massive resource for the mental health practitioners to better understand their African American patients (Pierre, 2018). An app is a private resource tool which those who feel stigmatized to visit the hospital can study and get assistance.

Weaknesses
Limited Access to Mental Health facilities due to stigma
Judgment and stigma prevent African Americans from seeking treatment for their mental problems. The blacks believe that according to their social circles, depression or anxiety is considered mental retention. Families have discouraged any discussions about mental illnesses (Williams & Wyatt, 2015). Families and relatives tend to hide their loved one from the public once they release he or she has a mental illness. Some problems are treatable while others are manageable, but with the prevalent stigma, no one will get help.

Lack of Cultural Competence
Cultural competence is the knowledge, attitude, behaviour and skills required of a healthcare professional to provide care for the sick from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The African Americans have poor mental health outcomes, yet their health care access is low (Williams & Collins, 2016). Every community in America has a right to mental health access because everyone is at risk. Early effective interventions can help the mentally ill to manage their conditions. Health professionals who lack cultural competence fail to connect with the sick, especially from the minority groups to help them professionally (Creedon & Cook, 2016). The prevalence of the illness will continue rising with the abuse of drugs among the blacks, the number of the inmates or African descent growing every day.

Opportunities
Church-based health programs
Faith leaders play a significant role in healing in the black community. Mental health has risen to become a serious issue among the black, prompting religious leaders to come up with a fast solution. Churches have organized programs that are supported by well-wishers and volunteers to reach out to the mentally ill in the community and help them (Williams & Wyatt, 2015). From a religious basis, stigma is dealt with, thus reaching out to many patients. Mental health has dilapidated in areas that church-based organizations have taken charge, meaning more of them would lead to great improvement.

Use Telehealth services
Telehealth services are healthcare services provided over a distance through videoconference or telephone. Telemental health services incorporate counselling, supplemental support, psychotherapy and other online cognitive behavioural therapy. Telehealth is a great opportunity to help the mentally ill among the African Americans, especially those who have secluded themselves out of fear of stigmatization.

Threats
Lack of Funding
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, the country has not allocated enough money to deal with the mental health problems in the republic. The minority groups especially the blacks still lack integration and mass awareness on the issue. Church-based organizations have tried to pick it up because of the prevalent lack of cultural competence among the practitioners (Williams & Collins, 2016). The blacks live in deplorable conditions, which heightens their social pressure, thus leading to depression and other mental health issues. Due to these poor conditions, most of these individuals lack insurance covers, therefore no access to health care.

Lack of Representation
African Americans are vastly underrepresented in all the departments in the United States. As the most significant minority that is profoundly affected by mental health problems, the government should ensure good representation in the health department (Gaston et al., 2016). Representation would lead to various legislative measures and directives, including hiring culturally competent medical officers to the affected areas to offer treatment.

Conclusion
The weaknesses and threats sited from the SWOT analysis have the potential to pose as opportunities and new avenues of dealing with the problem. Stigma, for instance, has been an issue for a long time, public awareness, registration of new social groups and training of more competent mental health practitioners among the blacks can lead to reduced stigma. This will also handle a lack of cultural competence among the health practitioners.
Proper use of the telehealth system and applications such as “The Safe Place” would kill stigma and also deal with cultural competence. These programs are remote, thus helping those who feel stigmatized to find help. Underrepresentation and lack of finances pose as threats, but on the flip side, they can quickly help in ensuring a healthy black community through funding medical expenses for the uninsured. Therefore, the threats or weaknesses can open up doors for opportunities by providing the necessary mental health education and easily accessible resources like telehealth, financial assistance for the uninsured, and development of mobile clinics and crisis teams to deliver mental health care to the African American community

References

1. Creedon, T. B., and Cook, B. L. (2016). Access to mental health care increased but not for substance use, while disparities remain. Health Affairs, 35(6), 1017-1021.
2. Gaston, G. B., Earl, T. R., Nisanci, A., and Glomb, B. (2016). Perception of mental health services among Black Americans. Social Work in Mental Health, 14(6), 676-695.
3. Kimble Melissa. (October 10, 2016). A growing list of black mental health resources. Ebony. (https://www.ebony.com/life/black-mental-health-resources/)
4. Pierre Jasmin (March 9, 2018). A mental health app for the black community. Mental Health First Aid. (https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/external/2018/03/mental-health-
5. Williams, D. R., and Collins, C. (2016). Racial residential segregation: a fundamental cause of racial disparities in health. Public health reports.
6. Williams, D. R., and Wyatt, R. (2015). Racial bias in health care and health: challenges and opportunities. Jama, 314(6), 555-556.

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