Black Mental Health Matters: The Grim Reality of Systemic Racism in Behavioral Healthcare
The year of 2020 has called our country to face very difficult realities about our country’s deep injustices and systemic racism that have existed for centuries. As we examine the grim realities that have shaped the experiences of the Black community, we’ve learned far too clearly the Black community does not have equitable access to care due to systemic barriers and healthcare disparities:
- Black people are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population
- Black people were overrepresented among persons suffering from serious mental illness who failed to receive “minimally adequate” treatment
- Black people are overrepresented in psychiatric emergency rooms
Now, our work resides in supporting psychiatric providers and clinics who do some of the hardest, most important work in our society providing care to vulnerable populations. We’re committed to learning how we can help change the behavioral health care system’s injustices and structural obstacles that prevent equitable access and treatment.
These are incredibly important building blocks, but without fundamentally changing our individual and collective beliefs as a society, our work together is not enough. In addition to addressing racism on a structural level in health care, we are committed to taking action on a personal and organizational level. In that vein, here is what Genoa Telepsychiatry is doing to take action:
- We are reinforcing our Cultural Sensitivity Manifesto to ensure every single person who touches our business, or serves our patients, embodies the values it calls for:
At Genoa Telepsychiatry, we believe in equity and inclusion, above all. Our mission to increase access to care is at the heart of everything we do. This mission is the cornerstone of our work and sets the bar for anyone who touches our business to be relentlessly inclusive. We expect that all our partners practice in a way that is respectful, sensitive, and affirming to others, regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion, language, gender expression and identity, or socioeconomic status. We believe if we come from a place of inclusion and empathy, we can change mental health — and the world.
- We are actively evaluating and examining our organization to identify where racial disparity exists in order to hold ourselves accountable to the cultural values we have outlined.
- We have made donations to: