How can we make mental health more accessible for the Black members of our community? What can we do as HR leaders and organizations do to show that Black mental health matters?

To answer these questions and more, Spring Health recently hosted a webinar panel discussion on Black mental health. Our three expert panelists —Rutgers University associate professor Dr. Dawne Mouzon, licensed marriage and family therapist Merraf Abel, and Black Men Heal co-founder Zakia Williams shared their insights on how we can all act to break down barriers to mental health in the black community.

Below are some of the key takeaways from the session.

Barriers to care are pervasive and systemic

Barriers to mental health in the Black community span from religious and gender-based stigma, to financial barriers, to lack of representation in the provider community.

Acknowledgement and self-education are crucial

Individuals and organizations should not rely on Black friends or colleagues to be racial ambassadors. Actively seek out resources to help
educate yourself of Black perspectives, and acknowledge the difference in experience.

Gender-based stigma is real, but trends are changing

Black women are traditionally more likely to seek mental health care than Black men. Much of this disparity is due to the social construct of masculinity, and the stigma it places on seeking care. While the stigma still exists, there are some signs of change. Zakia shared that when her
organization, Black Men Heal, began, they struggled to find men who wanted access to their free mental health services. Now, they have a
waitlist of 500+ potential clients.

Individuals and organizations should strive for ‘cultural humility,’ not just competency

While “culturally competent” is an industry buzzword, it implies that it’s a one-time, earned qualification. Dawne mentioned the idea that there are no ‘flashcards’ to understand the perspective of an entire racial group. Providers can instead use ‘cultural humility,’ implying that acknowledging different cultures and ethnic backgrounds is a lifelong learning experience.

For more ideas, information, and strategies, watch the full webinar, Breaking Down Barriers to Mental Health in the Black Community.

Spring Health provides employers with a comprehensive mental health benefit that matches each member of their team with a licensed Care Navigators who works with them one-on-one to find the right care and provider. At Spring Health, we are committed to diversity and inclusion: 44% of our Care Navigators are Black, 20% of our provider network is Black, 15% of our network is multiracial, and 45% of our network is non-white. Learn more about Spring Health by requesting a demo today.

Spring Health

June 29, 2020