Healthcare discrimination can create a barrier for minorities and people in marginalized communities which may prevent them from getting the care they need. They often have to deal with professionals who are ill-informed, disrespectful, and worse, may refuse to treat them. Queer and trans, black and Latino youth are some of the most vulnerable in this regard. Pre-existing biases about these populations makes it even harder for them to receive good care, and as we are currently aware, the rate of HIV among brown and black men is rising.
A Deeper Look:
People who are marginalized are the most vulnerable to illness and are also most affected by poor economics and poor health. In our society, poverty can happen as the result of poor health and also increases the chances of having poor health. According to Health Poverty Action, growing up in poverty can be associated with increased illness and death from cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and so many other causes … including homicide! Evidence shows that people with more money have better health whereas poverty is a major health risk. No one should have to choose between either buying their medicine or feeding their family.
Mental health care still carries a stigma which we work to break down. Reaching out for help or mental health treatment is a strength rather than a weakness and it’s important for people to understand that. Men have an even harder time reaching out for help, as do people of color – especially men. Our society sometimes gaslights people into believing that their mental health and mental illness is their own fault rather than looking at how injustice and societal norms play a part in mental wellness. It is important to work against the stigma attached to mental health issues in various cultural, ethnic, and religious groups.
Our cardinal conversation to kick off 2023 focuses on Embracing Instability in a world where change will always be happening. We have to find ways to learn and grow throughout our lifetimes in order to thrive.
Steps We Can Take:
We can start by checking out the websites and getting involved or donating to one of the organizations below:
People need the ability and right to make important decisions about their healthcare including whether or not to have children. According to a press release from the Center for Disease Control, “Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women – and this disparity increases with age.” The report continues with, “Most pregnancy-related deaths are preventable. Racial and ethnic disparities in pregnancy-related deaths have persisted over time.” All people should have the right to high quality medical and maternal health care regardless of race, ethnicity, or citizenship.
The Philadelphia Women’s Center has been working to meet the needs of women and families with professional, confidential and compassionate abortion care since 1972. The PWC’s accreditation as an Ambulatory Surgical Facility requires a rigorous inspection that demands excellent patient care, safety records, continually educated staff, hospital grade medical equipment and high standards for policies and procedures. Taylor Austin of the Women’s Centers attended a Feminist Brunch we hosted to facilitate conversation about Reproductive Health. Listen in to A Deeply Personal Decision
With the recent Supreme Court decision overturning 50 years of Roe v. Wade, we turned our attention to Plan B as an alternative that all women should know about. We also discussed the impact of the Dobbs decision overturning abortion in our conversation about Abortion Bans.
Inequities in neonatal and Prenatal Care in this country are horrifying. There is a huge disparity in healthcare impacting People of Color. The mother and child mortality and lack of adequate healthcare through the lifespan cannot be overestimated. This is in desperate need of an overhaul.
Jeannae Hopgood-Jones runs a website, Black Angel Mom.com – and an online support network for moms who have lost a baby preterm. Through her training in Marriage and Family Therapy as well as Human Sexuality Education, Jeannae works to help people become the best versions of themselves. She is an angel mom to twin girls born too soon due to pPROM (Pre-term premature rupture of membranes). Her goal with BAM (Black Angel Moms) is to give voice to the experience of black moms who have suffered perinatal loss. Listen in to her conversation with us: Permission to Grieve
Jeannae writes beautiful poetry and shared a poem she’d written with us entitled A Different Kind of Mother: You can read more of her poems and other work on her website blog.
Mental illness and mental health are still stigmatized in our country. Given the many stressors that we’ve encountered in the past several years, mental health has become a real crisis across all age groups. We discuss this Mental Health Breakdown and what should be done about it. One dangerous example of the breakdown in mental health in this country is the uptick in serious Road Rage incidents.
Speaking of mental health, the youth are the adults and leaders of tomorrow. They need our support to get there. We had a conversation about the crisis we’re seeing in Troubled Teens. Another teen issue is Bullying. It’s a huge problem affecting everyone’s mental health.
Older Americans are susceptible to increasing loneliness and lack of social connections. Aging Lonely is impacting physical and mental health exponentially. Intentional Communities, where community members are committed to working out their problems together, is an increasing popular solution.
Black Men Heal is a relatively new nonprofit offering free therapy to men, specifically black men. The organization works to provide access to mental health treatment, psycho-education, and community resources to Men of Color and to remove the stigma around acknowledging the need for help and reaching out for treatment. Their outlook: Healed Men Heal Men. We spoke with client liaison, Zakia Williams . Listen in to our conversation: Black Men Heal
Urban Mental Health Alliance (UMHA) is a grassroots, community based New Jersey nonprofit bringing awareness, knowledge and empowerment to urban communities to break the generational cycle of addiction and mental health challenges. Kimme Carlos, the Founder and Executive Director of UMHA shares her lived experience and dedicates her time and passion to ‘Advocating for Healthy Minds in Urban Communities.’ Join our conversation with her: Urban Mental Health
One important mental health issue that has a very harmful psychological impact on its targets is Gaslighting. This term has entered into popular dialog and is important for it’s strong negative impact on individuals, couples, and marginalized communities in our capitalist society.
Dictators use gaslighting as one of their tactics to gain popular opinion and authoritarian control. We can definitely characterize a lot of behavior we’ve seen with US leadership as extreme. In Evaluating Leadership we take a look at the bizarre “leadership” behaviors that we tolerate.
Conspiracy theories with cult-like beliefs are on the rise here and all over the world. Challenging Conspiracies is tough stuff but it’s our responsibility to confront them. If people see the same life over and over again, they come to believe the Propaganda, otherwise known as lies and fake news.
Art with Impact creates space for young people to learn together and connect around art. Through art and film, ideas around mental health and wellness are explored with a goal of destigmatization. As they say on their website – “Everyone has a mental health story. Talking about it shouldn’t be taboo. ” We spoke with L’Oréal McCollum about Art with Impact.
Drug addiction affects individuals, families and communities of all kinds though lack of access to care affects poor populations the most. Treatment for drug addiction is challenging and current treatment protocols are often not successful. Philadelphia has the most overdose deaths of any large city in America and the largest open air drug market on the East Coast. We talk about the Kensington area Drug Hub and what can be done about it. The best approaches to addressing drug addiction are preventative and include integrative medical services along with harm reduction practices for vulnerable populations.
The Bridge Way School in Northeast Philadelphia is the city’s first recovery high school and until very recently was the only one in PA that is licensed and accredited by the PA Department of Education. Bridge Way is run by Rebecca Bonner, a mom with lived experience related to the need for a school such as this one. Teens need a place to go for recovery and to live without the pressures inherent in going back to ‘people, places, and things.’ Here’s our conversation with Rebecca Bonner: Gonna Have a Life
Another addiction that can be life altering in harmful ways is gambling: The House Always Wins.
Most of us were caught off guard by the COVID-19 pandemic. We had no idea of what was to come even though, there’s a history of pandemics with plenty of helpful accounts and scientific knowledge to guide us. Many of us have had to deal with various forms of Pandemic Trauma and Pandemic Burnout. Sometimes it’s been hard to keep going especially because so much is unknown. Mindfulness During the Pandemic can help us promote wellbeing and get things done when our emotions interfere. Mindfulness skills and practice helps us build In our conversation about Future Pandemic Preparedness we finally discuss the need and ways to look forward and be better able to handle the next one.
CHRONIC HEALTH and DisABILITY
We’re grateful that some people are able to be more active than they could be in the past because of improvements in surgeries and replacement parts. More and more people are lucky enough to become something like Bionic Women and others.
The Dolan Fund: Founded by Peggy Dolan, the Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund works to lighten the burdens and lift the spirits of families caring for children with serious illnesses, disabilities, and injuries. They provide financial assistance for needs not covered by insurance, education and other resources to families living or seeking treatment in PA, NJ or DE. We chatted with Danielle Griffith, MSW, LSW, Program Director here: Navigate Those Resources.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and we take every attempt seriously. Many people who contemplate suicide suffer from clinical depression or other serious mental and physical health challenges. Rates for suicide are highest among middle aged white men, but suicide has also been increasing in young people at alarming rates.
The HopeRestoredProject.net works to empower people with knowledge about suicide in order to save lives and promote suicide prevention. Suicide leaves behind very deep and painful wounds that can last through generations. The website has many resources along with information about imminent risk factors and other signs to look for. We spoke about suicide prevention with Yasamin Brown, CEO of the Hope Restored Suicide Prevention Project, LLC: IS PATH WARM
Barry Jacobs, PsyD, spoke with us about his professional passion for transforming our healthcare system to better serve the most complex patients and their family members and to lower healthcare costs. Some of the highest utilizers of our healthcare system live in poverty. Putting systems in place to offer high healthcare utilizers a range of support services keeps them out of the Emergency Room. Things some people take for granted, such as housing and transportation, may make an enormous difference in healthcare service use and in patient well-being. When healthcare and social services are more fully family-centered, we will all be better served and there will be fewer complex patients and family caregivers falling through the cracks. Listen in to our conversation with Barry Jacobs: Sometimes It’s a Very Simple Fix
Dr. Phil Fizur is a licensed clinical psychologist in the department of Behavioral Medicine at Cooper University Healthcare in Camden, NJ. His day to day work involves patient care at Cooper’s Urban Health Institute providing behavioral healthcare to Camden’s underserved populations. From him we learned about how he applies Health Psychology at the Institute as well as to the work he does with patients and healthcare providers around the traumatic impact of COVID-19.
Kevin Moore, PsyD, is a clinician and administrator who focuses on evolving medical practices to leverage psychology against social problems. Dr. Moore works to provide trauma-informed and recovery-oriented healthcare for people managing chronic health conditions such as HIV, drug addiction and mental illness. His passions include creating integrative medicine services for vulnerable populations. In addition, Kevin has focused on developing novel drug treatment programs such as the first HIV-specific Intensive Outpatient program in the Philadelphia region. We spoke with Kevin Moore. Join us: A Better Life Can be Built
Bringing about change from the inside. Dr. Arthur C. Evans, Jr has been the CEO of the American Psychological Association (APA) since 2017. The APA is considered the leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the U.S. As with any professional association of its size, it has its share of strengths and challenges. Hiring Dr. Evans, a black male as CEO, seemed to be a positive step for the organization. Here’s our conversation with Dr. Arthur C. Evans, Jr: Coloring Outside the Lines