RHD partners with Philadelphia Councilwoman Cindy Bass to host mental health community conversation

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On Saturday, October 21 Councilwoman Cindy Bass hosted an 8th District Community Conversation on Mental Health in partnership with Resources for Human Development. The event will take place at Lonnie Young Recreation Center, 1100 E. Chelten Avenue, from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m.

“Mental health conditions are often still stigmatized in the Black community,” said Councilwoman Bass. “As the Chair of the City Council Committee on Public Health and Human Services, I recognize that holding this Community Conversation is an important step to addressing and ending that stigma. We want people who suffer from mental health conditions to know they are not alone and there are resources to help.”

Saturday’s Community Conversation featured a panel of mental health experts and everyday people who have lived with mental health conditions to share their experiences. There were also community mental health resources and information available along with light refreshments and door prizes.

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“This is the first of what we hope are many community conversations about mental health that bring together key stakeholders – city agencies overseeing mental health services, city council, providers and residents,” said Deneene Brockington, RHD government and community relations director. “These conversations will help ensure that we are providing the support our communities need, and help those communities better connect to vital services. We are honored to champion this effort with Councilwoman Bass.”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, African Americans are 20 percent more likely than the general population to experience serious mental health issues including major depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder. In contrast, the Alliance notes only about 25 percent of Black Americans utilize mental health care, compared to 40 percent of whites. The Alliance cited lack of access to health insurance as one reason for this discrepancy.

In Philadelphia, more than 9 people in every 100,000 fall victim to suicide, while more than 20 percent of adults report having ever been diagnosed with a mental health condition according the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s 2016 Community Health Assessment. In the 8th District, about 21.5 percent of adults have been diagnosed with a mental health condition between 2012 and 2015 according to the Public Health Management Corporation Household Health Survey.

“Mental health problems are often invisible. People can go through their days, weeks, and months as if everything is okay, while they are privately dealing with issues like depression and anxiety. I hope this community conversation helps open the door for many such people to come forward with their battles and seek resources to help manage and overcome those conditions,” Bass said.

“I’d like to thank RHD for giving me the opportunity to host this community conversation, and for helping bring together various mental health stake holders to best serve the community,” Councilwoman Bass said.

Councilwoman Cindy Bass represents the 8th Council District, which includes Germantown, Mt. Airy, Nicetown, Tioga, Chestnut Hill, portions of Logan, and West Oak Lane. She is Chair of Council’s committees on Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs and Public Health and Human Services.

Resources for Human Development is a national human services nonprofit with the broadest possible service mission, and specializes in creating innovative, quality services that support people of all abilities wherever the need exists. RHD currently supports 93 programs serving people with mental health challenges in 13 states, including 39 programs in the Philadelphia area.