WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Hurdle Health, the leading provider of culturally intentional digital mental health services, is presenting the Second Annual Black Mental Health Roundtable in collaboration with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity and the American Psychological Association (APA). The roundtable, to be held on May 11, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. EDT in the Rayburn House Office Building (Room 2044), is hosted by U.S. Representative Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (Florida 20th Congressional District).
The event will bring together leading experts in minority mental health, members of Congress and others to discuss a report that Hurdle will publish next week about the effects of vicarious racism on the mental health of Black Americans. The goal of the event is twofold – to raise awareness around systemic and vicarious racism and to create a platform for policy change that improves the mental health, and therefore, the daily lives of those in the BIPOC community.
“We have decades of research that demonstrate the harmful effects of racism on people’s physical and mental health. We also know – from the scientific literature as well as through anecdotes and qualitative research, like Hurdle’s Voices of a Collective Experience: Vicarious Racism and its Effects on Black Mental Health – that racism can also be experienced indirectly and cause people considerable distress and trauma,” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, CEO and Executive Vice President of the APA. “Why do policymakers acknowledge the detrimental indirect effects of cigarette smoke or the harms of witnessing violence on people’s health, but too often ignore those associated with experiencing racism? By recognizing indirect experiences of racism as a complex and significant public health issue, our nation can better develop policy solutions that stop the perpetuation of racism and its devastating effects on mental health.”
Hurdle’s inaugural May 2021 roundtable event focused on “Black Mental Health Before and After George Floyd’s Death,” an incident that triggered an unprecedented rise in mental health issues among Black Americans.
“George Floyd’s name has become tantamount to themes of solidarity and remembrance. His legacy beckons a commitment to the causes of equality, justice and the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Kevin Dedner, CEO and Founder of Hurdle. “And, Floyd’s death demands a deeper level of understanding of where and how racism shows up, and its toxic effects on the minds of the racially oppressed. That is why for the last two years, proceeding with Hurdle’s seminal research into Black mental health in his honor has required the utmost intentionality.”
Two years following Floyd’s tragic death, Black Americans report experiencing elevated levels of depression, anxiety and other forms of psychological distress. Vicarious racism, or one’s indirect encounters with racially charged acts of disrespect, harassment, contempt and/or violence (such as Floyd’s death and other racially charged tragedies in recent years), is directly correlated with a decline in mental health and individual well-being. The upcoming report published by Hurdle Health explores a qualitative analysis of the Black experience of vicarious racism and how it has impacted the mental health of Black Americans.
“The George Floyd tragedy awakened America’s consciousness to systemic racism. By lifting up Darnella Frazier’s story as the 17-year-old witness whose recording of Floyd’s death catalyzed a racial awakening, Hurdle’s Voices of a Collective Experience report details the ways prejudice and oppression surface through indirect, vicarious racism,” said Daniel H. Gillison, Jr., CEO of NAMI. “The report calls for an unprecedented focus on the mental health of Black Americans and other historically disenfranchised communities through the grounding of our mental health workforce in cultural humility.”
Moderated by Gillison, the panel will be comprised of the report’s authors:
- Dr. Harold “Woody” Neighbors, Research Advisor to Hurdle and Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Also, Senior Scientific Advisor with the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
- Dr. Ashley White Jones, Hurdle Co-founder and Advisor to the company. Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Mississippi.
- Dr. Norma L. Day-Vines, Associate Dean for Diversity and Faculty Development in the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University and Clinical Research Lead at Hurdle.
The event will also feature remarks by:
- U.S. Representative Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Florida 20th Congressional District
- Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity
- Maysa Akbar, PhD, Chief Diversity Officer and Interim Chief of Psychology for the Public Interest, APA
“Hurdle’s powerful report spotlights the challenges people of color face in a society that disregards the impact of racially-charged incidents like George Floyd’s tragic death,” said former Congressman Patrick Kennedy of the Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity. “The correlations drawn between exposure to racism ‘secondhand’ and the ways in which images, videos and stories of anti-Black violence assail Black Americans’ sense of self-worth are profound reminders of the important work that lies ahead. We need to prioritize culturally intentional therapy and parity in our mental healthcare system now.”
“As a clinical and practicing psychotherapist, I believe we need to deepen our understanding of mental healthcare through the lens of human rights principles–– dignity, autonomy and equitable access. Mental healthcare is healthcare, and access to it is a human right,” added Madhuri Jha, MPH, Director of the Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity.
The Second Annual Black Mental Health Roundtable is free to attend. Interested parties can register here for the event.
Second Annual Black Mental Health Roundtable
Wednesday, May 11, 2022 | 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. EDT
US Capitol, Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2044
Hurdle is the leading culturally intentional mental healthcare provider. With cultural humility, we create a safe space where all people can show up as they are and feel understood. Our therapists are trained to provide culturally responsive evidence-based care to individuals, couples and families of all backgrounds, with a specific focus on people of color. Hurdle has established relationships with employer groups, leading payers and strategic partners, providing access to care to more than thirty million Americans. For more information, visit hurdle.health.
About the APA
The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA’s membership includes over 133,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit apa.org.
About the Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity
The Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity (KSCMHE), a division of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine, was jointly envisioned by the 16th U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher, and former U.S. Representative Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI). Building on their longstanding relationship and shared commitment to promoting mental health parity and health equity for people living with mental health and substance use disorders, the Center was made possible through a generous endowment from the Kennedy Forum, and matched by MSM’s endowment from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. For more information, visit https://kennedysatcher.org.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI provides support, education, and advocacy nationwide with our network of 650 NAMI state organizations and affiliates. For more information, visit nami.org.