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Mental Health Programs Among African Americans

One Health Need of African American/Black Populations

Being one of the largest minority groups in the USA, African Americans and the Black population face a number of health issues. Ignoring the problem may lead to unpredicted and devastating outcomes. According to the research conducted by Kessler et al (2005), African Americans are more subjected to mental disorders. One of the main reasons is that African Americans and Black populations do not use the services of mental health communities. The higher rates of the cases of mental disorders in African Americans and the Black population may appear for many reasons. First of all, the remains of prejudiced attitudes to these ethnic groups impact children’s mental health. Second, the surrounding atmosphere and social environment may become the reasons for mental disorders. Caregivers with mental illnesses who do not receive appropriate health may also impact health issues of the mentioned population (Lindsey et al, 2008). Thus, mental health remains of the main issues which require solutions among African Americans and the Black population due to the low attention of people to this problem. The ethnic group under discussion does not consider the issue a problem and it leads to serious consequences and mental health disorders.

A Health Promotion Program to Meet the Identified Health Need

Treatment of mental health disorders among African Americans and Black populations should begin with the understanding that mental health services are important and they should attend those. Having considered the existing programs aimed at helping African Americans and Black populations cope with mental illnesses, it should be stated that they are not numerous. Many churches and other religious organizations try to help this ethnic group to cope with mental disorders (Aten, Topping, Denney, & Hosey, 2011). However, the assistance of religious organizations is not enough. Children from school age should understand that using mental health services is a norm in modern society, that is why they can always turn to professionals. Specific programs should be created at schools aimed at informing students about the necessity of professional help and giving instructions where this help can be obtained for free. Moreover, paying attention to the fact that churches willingly desire to help children with African American children in preventing mental disorders, their participation in the promotion program is obligatory (Aten, Topping, Denney, & Bayne, 2010).

Using Intervention Mapping, for the Suggested Health Promotion Program

Step three in the Intervention mapping presupposes the enumeration of the producing program components and materials. One of the main purposes of the third step in Intervention mapping is to apply the stated objectives to the methods (Bartholomew, 2001). Thus, the goal we want to achieve is to change the behavior of African Americans and Black populations to make sure that their mental health is protected. A school-based program on mental education is the best framework for the considered objectives. Much attention should be paid to the disparities in mental health treatment for African Americans and Caucasians, as the differences still exist. The program should focus on socio-environment peculiarities of African Americans and their prejudiced and distrusted attitude in relation to various mental treatment programs (Newhill, & Harris, 2007). Students should be offered detailed information about the process of treatment with the reference to the fact that those who seek mental health services are treated anonymously, without disclosure of any personal information.

Reference List

Aten, J. D., Topping, S., Denney, R. M., & Bayne, T. G. (2010). Collaborating with African American churches to overcome minority disaster mental health disparities: What mental health professionals can learn from Hurricane Katrina. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 41(2), 167-173.

Aten, J. D., Topping, S., Denney, R. M., & Hosey, J. M. (2011). Helping African American clergy and churches address minority disaster mental health disparities: Training needs, model, and example. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 3(1), 15-23.

Bartholomew, L. K. (2001). Intervention mapping: designing theory– and evidence-based health promotion programs. New York: Mayfield Pub. Co.

Kessler, R. C., Demler, O., Frank, R. G., Olfson, M., Jin, R., & Walters, E. E. (2005). Prevalence and treatment of mental disorders, 1990 to 2003. New England Journal of Medicine, 352, 2515–2523.

Lindsey, M. A., Browne, D. C., Thompson, R., Hawley, K. M., Graham, C. J., Weisbart, C., &… Kotch, J. B. (2008). Caregiver Mental Health, Neighborhood, and Social Network Influences on Mental Health Needs among African American Children. Social Work Research, 32(2), 79-88.

Newhill, C., & Harris, D. (2007). African American consumers’ perceptions of racial disparities in mental health services. Social Work in Public Health, 23(2-3), 107-124.

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