The importance of cultural responsiveness in serving the mental health and wellness needs of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) youth, and current mental health trends in a post-COVID-19, reopening world were key themes of the Community Alliance Connection Forum in San Diego on July 28 hosted by Blue Shield Promise Health Plan and its Community Resiliency Workgroup.
“The good news is that mental health is now being talked about openly – and embraced as important – especially among BIPOC youth. It is not hidden or stigmatized, it is not shameful, and the root causes of behavioral issues are being addressed. Traditionally, this has not been the case,” said panel moderator Rosa Ana Lozada, L.C.S.W and chief executive officer of Harmonium Inc., a health prevention and intervention organization that provides services to more than 30,000 children, youth, and their families through public/private partnerships.
The impact on youth mental health of a family’s generational, cultural, and ethnic influence, combined with societal racism, systemic barriers, and social justice issues prompted a lively panel discussion. Language and its impact on BIPOC youth was also identified as a mental health concern. “People who have English as a second language may not feel they are fully recognized as part of their community and may be viewed as ‘others’,” said Ayuja Dixit, a marriage and family therapist associate with License to Freedom, a nonprofit organization that promotes nonviolence through community education, self-sufficiency and advocacy for refugee and immigrant survivors of domestic and relationship abuse. “Additionally, Western-style therapy practices don’t typically weave in culturally sensitive approaches. Young people might be labeled in ways that don’t help them understand that they can get better and improve their lives, and they may mentally carry those labels into adulthood.”
Read more at News.BlueShieldCA.com.