How Can Creating an Equitable Crisis Care Continuum Benefit Underserved Communities?
The existing crisis care continuum does not effectively meet the needs of individuals experiencing behavioral health crises. The lack of intervention training for first responders often leads to negative outcomes. These negative outcomes especially impact communities that experience the most trauma:
- People who identify as Black or Indigenous
- People of color
- LGBTQIA+ individuals
- People with disabilities
- Non-English-speaking individuals
- Rural communities
- Older adults
- Unhoused individuals
- People returning from incarceration
The mental health crisis must be addressed because it impacts people from all walks of life. Therefore, creating an equitable crisis care continuum would benefit members of underserved communities experiencing behavioral health crises.
Providing culturally responsive, affirming care is essential for quality of life. Everyone deserves access to the resources required to thrive.
Discover how creating an equitable crisis care continuum can benefit underserved communities.
Differences in Mental Health Treatment
Most racial and ethnic minority groups have mental disorders that are similar to whites. However, these groups historically have had their mental health complaints ignored or dismissed.
As a result, members of these racial and ethnic minority groups have been under- and over-diagnosed with mental health disorders. Also, many have not been properly assessed but prescribed medications that might not address the sources of the issues.
Underutilization of Mental Health Services
Racial and ethnic minority groups tend to underutilize mental health services for many reasons:
- Lack of insurance
- Mental illness stigma
- Lack of diversity among mental health care providers
- Lack of providers who practice cultural humility
- Language barriers
As a result, these individuals often do not receive the mental health support they need.
Creating an Equitable Crisis Care Continuum
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline network includes more than 200 locally operated centers offering free, confidential support to individuals in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Individuals in the United States and its territories can call, text 988, or visit 988lifeline.org 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to talk with a trained crisis counselor.
Promoting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Embracing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is essential for suicide prevention. Also, addressing the systems of oppression that create disadvantages expands the perspectives, frameworks, and approaches to well-being for everyone.
As a result, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline network includes a department dedicated to ensuring that the values of equity and belonging are integrated throughout the service areas. Collaboration, training, relationship building, advocacy, capacity building, and user feedback guide the services provided.
The goal of the Equity and Belonging Department is to create a system of action, accessibility, and accountability. Each user should experience support, affirmation, and belonging regardless of their race, gender, culture, language, location, and ability.
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