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In May 2008, the US House of Representatives announced July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (referred to also as BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month). This month brings awareness to the unique struggles that underrepresented groups face regarding mental illness in the United States. Unfortunately, due to historic systemic disparities, Black Americans are likely to have less access to culturally appropriate care and are more likely to receive poorer quality care when treated.[1],[2]  In 2021, Georgia ranked 10th in the adult prevalence of mental illness, 47th in mental health workforce availability, 48th in adults with mental illness who did not receive treatment, and 51st in access to care.[3] In response to these challenges, the Community Health Equity Alliance was established by Janssen Neuroscience to prioritize community-informed solutions to effectively and meaningfully advance serious mental illness (SMI) care for Black adults based on community needs.

The Community Health Equity Alliance in Georgia is a collaboration of mental health stakeholders, including Silence the Shame, Association of Black Health Systems Pharmacists (ABHSP) Foundation, Black Psychiatrists of America, Mental Health America of Georgia, NAMI Georgia, Satcher Health Leadership Institute, and Janssen Neuroscience, who is:

  • Hosting convenings with community leaders to address the healthcare inequities of urban and rural counties
  • Sharing pharmacy-based resources foster equitable mental health practices and improve treatment adherence and therapeutic management.
  • Advancing policies that address state equity solutions in mental health guidance to networks, including advancing the role of Black pharmacists as core care team equity partners.

Since December 2021, the Community Health Equity Alliance in Georgia has engaged with over 50 organizations throughout Georgia to discuss racial health disparities and expand the continuum of care to include community leaders, like faith leaders and local pharmacists. For example, the ABHSP Foundation facilitated a Role of Pharmacist as a Mental Health Partner presentation to discuss the pharmacy's role in the mental health continuum of care. In addition, the Community Health Equity Alliance in Georgia hosted a Fireside Chat Podcast with Silence the Shame Founder and CEO Shanti Das and Pastor Eddie Bridgeman, during which they discussed strategies to reduce mental health stigma, including how faith communities can help. 

[1] Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 2019 National Healthcare Quality & Disparities Report. Accessed February 2022.
[2] Mental Health Disparities: African Americans. Accessed February 18, 2022.
[3] Mental Health America. 2021 The State of Mental Health in America. Accessed February 2022.

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