Mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender or identity. Anyone can experience the challenges of mental illness regardless of their background. However, background and identity can make access to mental health treatment much more difficult.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, African Americans are 10% more likely, and Latinos 40% more likely, to experience serious psychological distress than non-Hispanic whites—and only half as likely to receive needed treatment or counseling.
Addressing health disparities is part of the work of the Colorado Health Access Fund. The Fund focuses on expanding access to behavioral health care in Colorado, particularly in communities that have experienced inequities in health care and access. We are proud to highlight just a few of our important partners in this work:
The Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Center The behavioral health support provided by RMIAN's Social Service Project (SSP) takes place through regular, one-on-one visits by social workers to particularly vulnerable detained immigrant adults. During these visits, clients are supported to cope with the stress of being detained and other past trauma. The SSP also supports clients' legal cases, guided by the principles of "therapeutic jurisprudence," by which even fighting a complicated case can support behavioral health needs.
The Asian Pacific Development Center understands that each culture has a different the way of working to help people take care of themselves and understand how important it is to get treatment for mental health. APDC provides behavioral health services to Asian American and Pacific Islander populations in Colorado through direct counseling and care as well as community education. The organization has their own interpreters covering a wide range of languages including Vietnamese, Karin, Somali, Burmese, and Chinese Mandarin demonstrating one aspect of their understanding of culturally responsive care. APDC is able to build trust with communities and individuals which helps to remove barriers to accessing the support needed.
The demand for behavioral health services continues to be largely unmet for those with the greatest barriers to care. These are uncertain times in health care, but there is good momentum across the state to address behavioral health. The Colorado Health Access Fund will continue to evolve as a partner to best support this progress.
The Colorado Health Access Fund: Committed to Care. Between 2015 and 2022, the Colorado Health Access Fund, which is managed by The Denver Foundation, will award up to $5 million per year to initiatives that serve high-needs populations across the state. The next round of funding will be awarded in September 2017. For more information, visit the Colorado Health Access Fund page on The Denver Foundation’s website.