OHIO — A new study is shining light on access to behavioral health care in Ohio.
What You Need To Know
- There are over 2.3 million adult Ohioans living with mental illness, according to study
- Biases are just as present in the behavioral health community as in any other sector
- The goal is create more equity and expand cultural awareness and competence within our behavioral health care workforce
- To learn more about the study, click here
The study was done by Central State University, Ohio University, the Mental Health and Addiction Advocacy Coalition and the Multi-Ethnic Advocates for Cultural Competency. Within the study, it’s noted that “barriers to care are negatively impacted by provider bias, racism, and stigma, which lead to poorer quality of care and worse behavioral health outcomes.”
This can at times discourage people from getting the care they need.
Tracy Maxwell-Heard, the executive director of the Multi-Ethnic Advocates for Cultural Competence, indicated that the findings are not surprising.
“What we found out are those stigmas, those biases, are just as present in the behavioral health community as in any other sector," she said. "And our endeavor is to try to quantify that so that we can create some balance and some access, increased access for those from those BIPOC communities…Black Indigenous People of Color who are struggling to find service deliverers who look like them, speak their language, understand their cultural norms and can give them the same equitable service as the rest of the Ohioans."
When looking at those who are incarcerated, the numbers for mental health treatment differ drastically between Black and white Americans, with white Americans receiving more care. When asked about the difficulties Black people face getting treatment, Heard said that when incarcerated “It just exacerbates your ability to reach whatever services you're in need of.”
As the rest of the findings are released throughout the year, Heard and other researchers are looking to bring together a behavioral health workforce task force, along with state agencies, the governor's administration and legislators to address the issues at hand.
This is in hopes of not just getting buy-in, but to get assistance in helping to “Level the playing field, create more equity and expand cultural awareness, and competence within our behavioral health workforce,” said Heard.