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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.

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