July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (#MMHAM), and all month long
NAMI Greater Toledo is highlighting and spotlighting the unique challenging
circumstances that minority communities face when approaching Mental Illness.
This week, we sat down with Andrea Hill MACJ, MSW, LSW, LICDC to discuss this
Ms. Hill said that in her life and work, she sees mental illness impacting
communities of color at extremely high rates. Yet, these mental illnesses are
manifesting themselves through different outlets such as criminality, physical
health and behavioral concerns.
She says that as a native Toledo, she feels that not enough is being done to
educate and treat communities of color to prevent the ongoing generational
impact of mental illness or address the stigma that surrounds it.
Ms. Hill said that access to services is a big concern of hers. She said it is
important to note that mental illness does not discriminate based on
socioeconomic status, which should be taken into consideration when we discuss
access to services. Most people of color are involved in multi-systems so the
access to services is usually through Medicaid and government funded
programming, while not address the needs of those with private insurance and
over income. We are starting to see the creation of many private practice agencies
and consultants to address this disparity, but it still seems to difficult to get the
She believes the stigma for mental illness in the community is rooted in religious
principles in communities of color. “For so long, religion has been a pillar for
healing in those communities but admitting mental illness is somehow seen as
failure or lack of belief in one’s higher power.”
Finally, she said NAMI does an excellent job in creating a presence and awareness.
She said that partnerships with religious communities as well as a presence in
minority communities is a major need. NAMI can continue to provide education
“They say that you cannot pour from an empty cup, but a cracked cup doesn’t
pour too well either, help is here!”
Andrea will be our guest speaker at the upcoming African American Leadership
Initiative 9th Annual Forum on Motherhood and Mental Health in our Minority
Communities. More info can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/namiafrican-