Time to Overcome Stigma of Mental Health and Barriers to Access in Black Community
American Heart Association Celebrates Black History Month By Placing A Spotlight On Mental Health
Earlier this year the American Heart Association released a statement declaring that depression and negative psychological health conditions are associated with a less healthy heart and body. According to the Association, psychological health can positively or negatively impact a person’s health and risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
This statement came only a few months after the publication of a multilevel investigation from the Morehouse-Emory Cardiovascular Center for Health Equity which concluded that individual psychosocial resilience in Black adults is associated with better cardiovascular health.
While more researcher is needed to better define the connection between mental resilience and cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association through its Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund, recently invested in a New Jersey-based entrepreneur whose mission it is to remove the barriers of access and stigma toward seeking mental health treatment in the African American community.
“I believe that advancing health equity starts with making mental health care accessible and inclusive of communities of color and low-income,” said Ashley Edward, Founder and CEO, of MindRight Health.
Before founding MindRight Health, Edwards worked in education in Newark, NJ, where she saw every day how her students were coming to school while living with chronic stress and trauma. She noticed there were not enough resources to provide psychological support and mental health support to young people of color. She founded MindRight as a way to “make young people be seen and heard” by providing counseling services through a familiar companion, their mobile phones and text messaging.
“Removing the stigma and shame of accessing health is the first step. If we can’t remove the stigma we can’t provide care. There is a negative narrative about what it means to seek support and get help. To be vulnerable and ask for help is often seen as a weakness and a lot of our kids are living in community’s where they can’t afford to show those weaknesses.”
To support the mission of the American Heart Association click here. For more information about the American Heart Association’s commitment to health equity please visit our website.
Diego is the Communications Director for the American Heart Association in New York City. He loves sharing powerful stories that inspire people to take control of their health.