NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania Hosts Black Mental Health Summit
During Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
Pittsburgh - On Friday, July 15, 2022, NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania is convening the Black Mental Health Summit: A Call for Action at the Kinsley Association from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event, which is being held during Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, will address the unique challenges that members of Pittsburgh’s Black community are facing, including how stigma can be a barrier to seeking treatment, and the obstacles experienced when getting help.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues for people of all races and ethnicities,” said Christine Michaels, CEO of NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania. “But for Black Americans, historical trauma, discrimination, and community violence have added to the challenge. But these problems had been building before the pandemic.”
In 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Black Americans, ages 15 to 24. Black females, grades 9-12, were 60 percent more likely to attempt suicide compared to non-Hispanic white females of the same age.
According to NAMI’s webpage on Black American mental health, the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health reports that Black adults in the U.S. are more likely than white adults to report persistent symptoms of emotional distress, such as sadness, hopelessness and feeling like everything is an effort.
“Mental health conditions do not discriminate,” said Michaels. “Anyone can experience the challenges of mental illness regardless of their background. But background and identity can make access to mental health treatment more difficult.”
At the summit, various community stakeholders will discuss what mental health means to each of them, the challenges and factors that must be considered, and what we can do collectively to support our communities.
A representative from Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey’s office will deliver opening remarks. The keynote will be presented by Angela Reynolds, PhD, CEO of the YWCA. Participants will also break into small groups for discussion.
The Kinsley Association is located at 6435 Frankstown Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.