Newly introduced bill could help improve mental and behavioral health care in communities of color
ELAWARE – Delaware Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester introduced a bill that would help connect communities of color with better access to mental and behavioral health services. Congresswoman Blunt Rochester says The Investing in Community Healing Act of 2020 comes after the passing of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
In a statement, the congresswoman wrote, “We still must address the trauma that impacts the mental health of communities of color when there’s a violent incident with law enforcement.”
Dr. Sherin Howett at the Pearl Clinic in Millsboro says that stress about interacting with law enforcement can have a big impact on mental health in communities of color. “That definitely takes a psychological toll on community members. It takes a toll on medical resources because obviously – besides the pandemic – people are having issues with insomnia,” said Dr. Howett.
The bill would require Delaware Health and Human Services to research the effects of trauma-related violence committed by law enforcement. It would also provide 20 million dollars in grants to organizations to help get communities of color connected to better mental and behavioral health resources. Plus, the bill calls for the state to develop an outreach and education campaign to promote awareness of mental and behavioral health and reduce stigma among communities of color.
Dr. Howett says spreading awareness about resources is just one of the steps towards improving the quality of mental and behavioral health care. “It’s difficult because they feel like they don’t have control. They feel like there’s nothing they can truly do about it other than to obviously now protest or to speak out against it,” said Dr. Howett.