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Faith-Based Organizations Lead the Way to Mental Wellness for African Americans in the San Bernardino Area

HP-PIC-green-ribbon“Mental Health Friendly Communities” event kicks off a new statewide initiative in San Bernardino County, harnessing the power of the faith community to address stigma and discrimination.

WHAT: The stigma and discrimination faced by African Americans with mental health concerns will be addressed at the San Bernardino kickoff of Mental Health Friendly Communities (MHFC). The event brings together mental health consumers, providers, and faith leaders to foster the faith community’s important role as a center of support for African Americans. MHFC is being introduced in four regions across California including San Bernardino/Riverside, Sacramento, Solano and Kern counties. It provides culturally focused trainings and resources that dispel misconceptions about mental illness, provides skills for faith leaders as first responders, and speaks directly to the mental health needs of African Americans. The MHFC initiative is administered by CalMHSA, which is funded by the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63).

WHY: A statewide survey of more than 2,600 respondents reports that “72% of African-American mental health consumers and family members across California believe it is appropriate for the public mental health system to address spirituality as a part of mental health care.” Studies show that many African Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental illness but don’t seek help because of fear of judgment, isolation and discrimination. Additionally, mental illness has long been a taboo subject among African Americans and the result is that serious needs for support and treatment often fail to be recognized and addressed.

WHERE:  INGHRAM COMMUNITY CENTER, St. Paul AME Church, 2050 North Mt. Vernon St., San Bernardino, 92411

WHEN: Saturday, June 14, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Program begins at 9:00 a.m.)

WHO: The MHFC Training Team, faith leaders, mental health consumers and community leaders are available for interviews throughout the program.

About CalMHSA

The Mental Health Friendly Communities program, administered by CalMHSA, is funded by the voter approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63). The California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) is an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. CalMHSA operates services and education programs on a statewide, regional and local basis. For more information, visit www.calmhsa.org.

Rep. Negrete McLeod Praises President’s Executive Order To Address Student Loan Debt

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino) released the following statement in support of President Barack Obama’s new action to help millions of student loan borrowers better manage their debt.

“Our economy is weakened when a generation of college graduates is burdened by large amounts of student loan debt,” said Rep. Negrete McLeod.  “This is why I agree with the President’s new plan to help millions of people across the country pay off student loan debt. We must make college more accessible and affordable for the sake of our nation’s economy and its future.”

The executive actions the president took earlier this week will allow millions more borrowers to better manage their student loan debt, directing the Department of Education to expand the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) program.   PAYE enables student loan borrowers to cap their loan payments at 10 percent of their monthly income.  The new rules will open the PAYE program to borrowers who are currently ineligible because they have loans that originated before October 2007.  The administration estimates that these new rules will mean that an additional five million borrowers can cap their monthly student loan payments in relation to their income.

In addition, on Saturday, President Obama urged Congress to pass the Bank on Students Emergency Refinancing Act (H.R. 4582; S. 2292), legislation cosponsored by Rep. Negrete McLeod that would help 25 million borrowers nationwide refinance their existing federal and private student loans to lower interest rates, similar to those that are currently available to new student loan borrowers. In total, American families would save around $55 billion under the legislation, which they can then reinvest in their local economy.

“I urge House Leadership to bring the Bank on Students Emergency Refinancing Act up for a vote.  Passage of this legislation would help millions of struggling borrowers pay back their student loans at reasonable accommodations,” concluded Rep. Negrete McLeod.

Learn more about the Bank on Students Emergency Refinancing Act here.


blood-driveCajon High School is holding a blood drive to benefit LifeStream on Tuesday, June 17, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Each blood donation can help save a life with their blood and raise funds for the Cajon Cowboy football team. Blood donors must be at least 15 years old. Those under 18 years must have permission from a parent or guardian. Cajon High School is located at 1200 W. Hill Drive in San Bernardino. For more information, call Audrey Reisenhofer, Associated Student Body director, at (909) 881-8120. For more information about LifeStream, visit https://www.lstream.org.