News & Announcements

Bringing Mental Health Awareness to the Basin

Posted: July 24, 2014

Losing a sister to suicide was one of the hardest things Kathy Haddock had to overcome. “It's hurtful, it hurts very much but if that story helps to bring families together and people to start talking about these issues then it's going to be worth it,” Haddock said. Monday, Haddock shared her story during the Speak Your Mind Texas event put together by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). 

The event, which was held at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, is part of a state-wide initiative to discuss mental health issues affecting the community. During the town-hall-style conversation, speakers discussed the warning signs of mental illness and substance abuse and spoke on the resources available to those struggling with mental illnesses in the Permian Basin. “You want to stop that problem early on and the way you do that is to have the community come together and speak about how do we address these problems early,” said Mary Anderson, Regional Medical Director at DSHS. The event focused on teens and young adults because according to Anderson, more than 50 percent of the people that are going to develop mental illnesses develop them by age 14.

“The way to erase that stigma is to talk about ways to prevent mental health problems early on,” Anderson said.

Read more.

Familias Moving Forward on Mental Health

Posted: July 23, 2014

This blog post is written by Mayra E Alvarez MHA, Associate Director, Office of Minority Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, it originally appeared on

I grew up in a large Latino family. On any given weekend, I would find my extended relatives over at our house—the kitchen steaming with food, kids running around, and multiple conversations happening. I had three sisters, but if you counted my aunts, uncles, and numerous primos and primas, we were anything but the average-sized family. I was lucky--I had a number of people to talk to about school and relationships, or worries or stresses I was feeling.

Having a support system of friends and family, especially in Latino families, is a helpful way to alleviate stress and live healthier. But sometimes, friends and family alone are not enough and it becomes necessary to seek professional help.

Within our community, there are often negative perceptions about mental health that can discourage people from seeking treatment. Latino youth have been found to be at risk for higher levels of emotional distress because of the pressures to rapidly adopt the values of their culture as well as inequality, poverty, and discrimination. In the United States, the prevalence of having seriously considered attempting suicide was higher among Hispanic students (18.9%) than whites (16.2%) and blacks (14.5%). The disparity was even more apparent among Latina students who were 1.2 times as likely as white female high school students to seriously consider attempting suicide, even going so far as to create a plan.

To encourage conversations in the Hispanic community and across the country about mental health problems, identifying needs, and helping individuals get treatment, I am proud to spread the word about a new website and toolkit developed by SAMHSA and available in English and Spanish. and en Español have information about prevention, treatment, and recovery from mental health conditions and can help individuals and communities access treatment and resources. The website focuses on the importance of talking about mental health and engaging parents, young people, Latino-serving advocates, and other community leaders in conversations about mental health.



A New Way to Fight Health Disparities?

Posted: July 22, 2014

There’s a big question behind pretty much every health care debate in the U.S.: Why, despite all the money spent on health care (we’re the world’s top spender), are our health outcomes so bad? The U.S. ranks at the bottom of other developed nations. When you look at these outcomes by race, though, you start to get a hint of what might be behind these stark differences.

We see incredible disparities in health outcomes for people of color. In maternal health, for example, black women are four times more likely than white women to die during childbirth, and these disparities persist even for middle class black women. To a lesser but still to a significant degree, other women of color (Latinas, Native Americans, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders) experience these disparities as well. It’s not limited to maternal health either—in many other arenas people of color face worse health outcomes than whites.

This is not a new problem, and it’s been the focus of public health efforts for decades. But because of the Affordable Care Act and alarm about the high cost of health care in the wake of a major recession, the topic is receiving renewed attention. Somewhat surprisingly, there is some consensus on what is causing these disparities. Researchers, academics and providers across sectors have been pointing to what they call “social determinants of health” as the cause. Social determinants of health are things like poverty, housing, employment, stress, access to clean water and fresh food. What researchers have found, particularly by doing international comparisons, is that countries that invest more in these social services see improved health outcomes.


4 Black Church Resources that Can Help People Living with Depression

Posted: July 21, 2014

Most churches could do a lot more to support people who live with mental illnesses. Many Christian teachings link health, wealth and faith in ways that can make anyone having a bad day feel like God has abandoned them. This feels all the more injurious to someone living with a mental-health challenge.

This becomes particularly acute in African-American communities. For emotional support, African Americans tend to rely on family and social and religious communities rather than healthcare professionals. In addition, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) notes that African Americans are less likely than their white counterparts to receive accurate diagnoses.

July is Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. During this season, mental-health advocates shine a spotlight on the way that depression and other mental illnesses are experienced among people of color in the United States. Mental-health professionals are increasingly competent in various cultural experiences and should be consulted.

As black churches explore ways that they can be supportive of people living with mental illnesses, they can draw upon various resources within tradition resources that can be helpful to people living with depression. These historic practices can create a contemporary climate that is welcoming and supportive for faithful people living with depression.

  • Spirituals: Seen as both religious music and an antecedent to the blues, spirituals are powerful ways of acknowledging that sadness is a part of the spiritual journey, and that one needn't face it alone.
  • Charismatic Worship: Many historic black churches have a history of charismatic worship. This worship style is often seen in praise and worship, preaching and giving. 
  • Getting Happy: Many black churches use this term to describe a physical expression of being filled with the Holy Spirit. 
  • Liberation Emphasis: Black churches can draw upon the tradition of fighting oppression when it comes to mental-health challenges. They can resist stigmas, promote mental-health parity, encourage cultural competence and model humane treatment and love for people who live with mental-health challenges.

Read the full article on

BHbusiness is Now BHbusiness Plus – Helping You Make Business Change

Posted: July 21, 2014

BHbusiness Plus now offers expanded topics and even more customized technical support, in learning networks with shorter timeframes. You are invited to apply and gain these benefits:

  • Focused technical assistance to meet your organization wherever the business need is strongest
  • Guidance from a dedicated coach through the process of developing your change project
  • Access to the peer group of other providers in your learning network
  • Consultation from leading subject matter experts in the field
  • Support for creating your own change projects
  • Resources designed to provide practical action steps to meet your individual challenges

Topic areas include billing, third-party contract negotiations, new business planning, mergers and acquisitions, enrollment and eligibility, and much more! If you’re not sure what business area to focus on, try the strategic business decision-making learning network

There are two ways to apply to join a learning network:

  • As an individual provider: The BHbusiness team will place you in a new network.
  • As a convener: You bring a group of provider organizations together to form a learning network. Single State Agencies, State Mental Health Agencies, ATTC Regional Centers, provider associations, and networks of providers are well positioned to take on the convener role for a BHbusiness learning network.

BHbusiness Plus will offer two additional rounds of learning networks, in Winter and Spring of 2015. The deadline for applications is August 15 for Round 1 learning networks starting in October 2014.

BHbusiness Plus is funded by Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration and provided to participants at no cost. Behavioral health leaders and experts in business develop and teach the BHbusiness courses. State Associations of Addiction Services (SAAS) leads the project in partnership with NIATx, the National Council for Behavioral Health, and Advocates for Human Potential (AHP).

Learn more about BHbusiness Plus. Apply now!

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