Rep. Adams Magnifies Impact of Mental Health Crisis for Communities of Color 

May 25, 2022 by Alexa Hornbeck
Rep. Adams Magnifies Impact of Mental Health Crisis for Communities of Color 
Charles Johnson, left, wears a button with a picture of his wife Kira during a press conference announcing a lawsuit outside Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Wednesday, May 4, 2022, in Los Angeles. Johnson's wife Kira died at the hospital in 2016 from complications after giving birth by cesarean section. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

In observance of mental health awareness month, Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C., and a panel of experts shared mental health resources during a webinar on Tuesday. 

“Mental illness is a medical condition like diabetes or cancer. … The COVID-19 pandemic … only made mental health outcomes worse,” said Adams during the webinar. 

According to Adams, mental illness impacts over 46 million people in the country.

“This past March, Congress passed the government-funded omnibus package. … The package boosts funding for maternal and child health, mental health and substance treatment,” said Adams. 

Congress has also set forth the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, which consists of 12 bills that address all aspects of the maternal mortality crisis, with a focus on Black mothers.

Over 50% of young adults reported symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders in the U.S., and over a quarter reported struggling with substance abuse, according to Adams. 

Panelists discussed how to recognize warning signs of depression, substance abuse or other mental health issues in a loved one.

“There’s all kinds of mental health conditions … but what overlaps each of them is how [people] are in their work, their everyday life,” said Natasha Oates, a therapist at The UP Company, during the webinar. 

Oates said many employers offer assistance programs covering up to 22 sessions of therapy. 

There are also organizations that offer sliding scales for mental health services at lower rates, which Oates said can be found through websites like openpathcollective.org.

“There’s a lot of different avenues to lower the cost of [mental health] services … you just have to search for them,” said Oates.

Alexa can be reached at [email protected] 

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