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Kaiser Permanente provides grant for mental health services

Daily Press - 12/10/2018

Dec. 10--VICTORVILLE -- The San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and California State University, San Bernardino will receive a portion of a $6 million grant from Kaiser Permanente Southern California.

Both organizations, along with 14 others from Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties, will receive $80,000 each to improve access to mental health services.

The Kaiser grant is part of a five-year Community Mental Health and Wellness Initiative with an immediate Local Partnership Grant grant allocation of $1.28 million.

"The prevalence of mental illness is significant and growing in Southern California and across the country," said John Yamamoto, vice president, Community Health & Government Relations, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals/Health Plan. "For adults and youths affected by mental illness, the effects can be devastating, increasing their risk for serious medical conditions, diminished quality of life, and even suicide."

Yamamoto said the grants are designed to address mental health needs within underserved communities by funding trusted nonprofit organizations that serve these communities.

As Kaiser officials continue to improve mental health and wellness in communities, the health network identified mental and behavioral health as a top community health initiative.

Here is the remaining list of community recipients of the grant:

* Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

* Mental Health of America of Los Angeles

* National Alliance for Mental Illness Orange County

* Cajon Valley Union School District

* The Achievable Foundation

* Jewish Family Service of the Desert

* Foothill Family Services

* California State University, Bakersfield

* Family Service Association

* Tarzana Treatment Centers, Inc.

* Riverside University Health System Foundation

* Mental Health of America of Los Angeles -- Antelope Valley

* Coalition for Humane Immigrants Rights of Los Angeles

* Village Family Services

These organizations' efforts include:

* Improving access and connection to care to mental health services in clinical and community settings.

* Enhancing and building the current and emerging mental health workforce to meet community mental health needs.

* Reducing self, public, and institutional mental health stigma and boosting resilience in individuals, communities, and organizations.

* Mental health disorders are among the most common health conditions faced by Americans, with nearly one in five adults experiencing mental illness and one half of all chronic mental illness beginning by age 14 Kaiser reported

Grant recipients have found various ways to address mental health through a grassroots approach.

One example is Mindful Beauty, a pilot educational program spearheaded by Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science designed to provide African American hair stylists with the skills to notice signs in female clients who may be at risk for depression.

"Many black women don't seek professional treatment for depression and other mental health issues," said Sonya Young Aadam, chief executive officer, California Black Women's Health Project. "In addition to the limited availability of mental health resources, there's also a cultural stigma that they're supposed to be strong and deal with it on their own, or they fear people will call them crazy, or they think it can be 'prayed away.'"

Designed as a seven-week program, Mindful Beauty trains stylists on how to recognize mental health signs in order to recommend the various types of mental health care services available.

Hair stylists will serve as mediators to help increase the behavioral intention of their clients to seek mental health care treatment, if they sense their client is feeling depressed.

"Given that black women visit the salon an average of 2.5 times a month -- and some even weekly -- the beauty shop is an ideal place to educate women and equip them with practical tools for improving their family's health," said Margo Wade LaDrew, founder and executive director, Black BeautyShop Health Foundation.

Wade LaDrew added that hair stylists are trusted by their clients, and black beauty salons have always been a haven for women.

"Black women are visiting the hair salon more times a month, sharing their deepest life stresses, in a trusted environment -- more times there than they would a doctor or mental health professional in possibly a lifetime," Wade LaDrew said.

Cynthia Davis, MPH, assistant professor, Charles R. Drew University, College of Science and Health, said she's looking forward to starting the Mindful Beauty program. Davis will use university resources to gather data to measure the program's outcomes.

For more information, visit kp.org/share.

Reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com, Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz

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(c)2018 Daily Press, Victorville, Calif.

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