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Audio Transcript: Minority Mental Health
By Alexandria Bennett SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. A local organization is bringing awareness to trends of mental illness in minorities and what is being done to cure the stigma of mental health in minorities here in Central New York.
NAMI Syracuse is the National Alliance of Mental Illness . It’s an organization dedicated to improving the lives of those who suffer from mental illness through self-help, support and advocacy. Steven Comer, a board member for NAMI Syracuse, said minorities have access to the same mental health services as everyone else. They just have to want the help. Comer said most minorities do not seek help because they fear being judged or have a history of not being treated fairly. A new database has been created by NAMI Syracuse that names local health care facilities who provide free diagnosis and treatment for mental illness.
“We designated them by the insurance they take,” Comer said. “So any facility on the website is also accepted by the main insurance companies.”
According to NAMI, mental illness in minorities continues to go undiagnosed due to lack of education, shame and fear. Stigma contributes to the silence of mental illness in many ways. Comer said there are a couple of ways to tackle the stigma.
“Ninety percent is educating them about how to get over the barriers and finding resources in the community,” Comer said. “Then you connect them to the people that can help them get there. The other 10 percent is all you.”
Rising trends of mental illness in minorities include postpartum depression, PTSD and bi-polar disorder. NAMI Syracuse urges members of the community to seek helps and take advantage of its resources.
The goal for NAMI Syracuse in creating the database is to relieve stress from patients by making it easier to access local help.