By Karen Stokes
The Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division (BHD) is inviting residents with mental health issues and their family members to be part of a conversation for the development of a new Northside Behavioral Health Facility.
The Department of Health identified the North Side of Milwaukee as the most underserved populations regarding healthcare resources.
The BHD is still looking at different areas for the location of the facility. The 53206 zip code is one of the areas of consideration.
“The new facility will integrate primary care and behavioral health care to treat the whole person. This integrated model is recognized today as best practice,” said Mike Lappen, administrator for the Milwaukee County BHD. “Our goal is to provide access to best practice care and support before people are in crisis.
To do this right, we need to engage the individuals we serve at BHD in the decision making.
According to psychiatrist Dr Janet Taylor, there are stigmas in the African American community concerning mental illness that still exists today. Dr. Taylor said many African Americans struggle with feeling compelled to be strong.
Some are so socially isolated that they feel they can’t trust anyone or share anything and must go it alone.
According to a 2013 study conducted by Ward, Wiltshire, Detry, and Brown, participants were not very open to acknowledging psychological problems, but they were somewhat open to seek mental health services.
Thirty percent of participants reported African American men are particularly concerned about stigma.
Stigma and judgment prevents Black/African Americans from seeking treatment for their mental illnesses.
Research indicates that Black/African Americans believe that mild depression or anxiety would be considered “crazy” in their social circles.
Furthermore, many believe that discussions about mental illness would not be appropriate even among family.
“I think one reason for the stigma is lack of education and awareness around mental health,” said Brenda Wesley, director of education and outreach for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). “In our community, everything that happens in our home, stays in our home.”
There are four community conversations scheduled for December and January facilitated by Pastor Darrel Seay, M.S. for people with mental illness and their families.
Friday December 16, 2016 1:30 to 3:30pm
Progressive Baptist Church 8324 W Keefe Ave Milwaukee, WI 53223
Tuesday December 20, 2016 2:30 to 4:30pm
Metropolitan Baptist Church 1325 W. Burleigh Street Milwaukee, WI 53206
Wednesday January 4, 2017 1:30 to 3:30pm
Metropolitan Baptist Church
Wednesday January 25, 2017, TBD
Metropolitan Baptist Church
Public Relations Manager, Katy Glodosky shared that the feedback from the participants will dictate some of the services, such as alcohol and drug treatment. Research has found that most people with AODA also have behavioral issues.
The Northside facility is one step in the Behavioral Health Division’s transformation to become a national leader in integrated behavioral health care, moving from a hospital-based provider of acute psychiatric care to a comprehensive provider of preventive, treatment and recovery oriented care in hospital and community based settings.