Per Montgomery County: Montgomery County’s three minority health initiatives/programs (MHIP), which are part of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), have released a report on the mental health needs of minority residents. “Minority Voices 2022: Our Mental Health Journey” is the result of a year-long partnership between the Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI), the African American Health Program (AAHP), and the Latino Health Initiative (LHI).
The report is a compilation of more than two dozen personal stories shared by residents of Montgomery County’s minority community, highlighting common and unique mental health challenges experienced across minority groups. The report emphasizes the prevalence of stigma and stereotypes that still exist in these communities and provides insights into the emerging themes of the mental health needs of the County’s minority residents.
“Mental health is physical health, and everyone deserves to live their healthiest life possible,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “I hope that this report can shed some light and humanize the mental health struggles that far too many in our minority communities face. Through storytelling, we can spur action and ensure that no one–regardless of their race –has to suffer in silence.”
Through the sharing of personal experiences, the report aims to raise awareness, reduce negative stereotypes and stigma surrounding mental health, and initiate an open dialogue that encourages individuals to speak up and seek help. It also identifies barriers to seeking mental health support and the factors that positively impact mental well-being.
In addition to providing insights into the mental health needs of the community, the report includes a “Call to Action” that highlights the need for a whole-of-society effort to address longstanding disparities, strengthen systems of care to welcome ethnically diverse communities, and ensure linguistic and culturally responsive services and resources. The report lists some considerations for addressing these issues, emphasizing the importance of collaboration between government, healthcare providers, community organizations, and individuals.
“By working together, we can support the mental health needs of our minority residents and create a healthier, more equitable community for all. I invite everyone to explore the report and join the conversation to promote mental health equity and access for all,” said James Bridgers, the acting director of DHHS.