Mental Health Program

 

Our mission is to advance health equity in San Francisco by collaborating with the community on systems changes that increase nutrition security and active living.

 

When considering the root causes of chronic disease, they are ultimately far more widespread than the “poor choices” of an individual. To that end, addressing chronic disease is more complicated and nuanced than simply asking people to eat their fruits and vegetables and start exercising 30 minutes a day. To ask people to make those “simple” changes, we must consider how their behaviors are shaped by their social, physical, and political environments.

Mental Health

  • The way we talk about things can often influence the way we think about them. In the field of mental health, we are familiar with “person-first” language. This is a language that prioritizes the identity of individuals as human beings with unique experiences and identities over their mental health status. 

  • To promote and be effective in addressing mental health for all, The Hunnicutt Foundation uses racial equity and an intersectional lens to highlight, better understand, and effectively respond to the range of experiences held by individuals and families with diverse values, beliefs, and sexual orientations, in addition to backgrounds that vary by race, ethnicity, religion, and language.

  • Mental illness does not discriminate. Studies have shown that nearly 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year and mental illness is the leading cause of disability in the United States. While non-White people experience relatively similar rates of mental illness as White people, they face glaring disparities when it comes to accessing mental health help. 

  • According to Mental Health America, 17% of Black people and 23% of Native Americans live with a mental illness and people who identify as belonging to two or more races are most likely to report any mental illness within the past year than any other racial or ethnic group. Research has shown that BIPOC groups are:

    • Less likely to have access to mental health services

    • Less likely to seek out treatment

    • More likely to receive low or poor quality of care

    • More likely to end services early

    • Some of these barriers can be attributed to a variety of factors such as cultural stigma around mental illness, systemic racism and discrimination, language barriers, a lack of health insurance, mistrust of mental health care providers, and a lack of cultural competency in the part of mental health care providers. 

The Hunnicutt Foundation is working diligently to dispel the issues around mental health treatment among the BIPOC community.

  • racism and discrimination

  • stigma against mental health 

  • limited access to quality care

  • providers don't reflect the communities they serve

Diversity and inclusivity are at the heart of many solutions proposed to close the gap between mental health care providers and the marginalized communities they serve. Bringing awareness to the fact that BIPOC communities face different types of barriers to receiving quality mental health treatment is only the first step in the path toward mental health care equity. BIPOC Mental Health Month is a program we are working on to bring these issues to the forefront of our minds. This is equally important to work toward improved accessibility and care all year long.

"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in Health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The COVID-19 crisis has only exacerbated health disparities. Addressing underlying structural inequities will be critical to improving the health of the BIPOC community.

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