NAMI Establishes New Multicultural Action Center
Los Angeles Forum on President Bush’s Mental Health Report
Reflects Need to Move From Outreach to Action
NAMI announced creation of a Multicultural Action Center in conjunction with a national forum offering multicultural perspectives on President Bush’s New Freedom Commission Report. The new center replaces the NAMI Multicultural & International Outreach Center established in 2002.
"This is more than a symbolic move," said NAMI acting executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. "It represents a new strategic phase. We are moving from outreach to action."
"Our entire community is entering a new era," said Majose Carrasco, who was appointed Multicultural & International Outreach Center center director earlier this year and now becomes Multicultural Acation Center director. "We have the President’s New Freedom report. We have the Surgeon General’s Report on Culture Race and Ethnicity. We have the Institute of Medicine’s report on Unequal Treatment. The challenge now is to use them to shape programs and policies, to achieve cultural competence and broad inclusiveness."
California Director of Mental Health Stephen Mayberg—a member of the New Freedom Commission—served as a panelist at the multicultural forum. The event was held in Universal City and sponsored by the Latino Behavioral Health Institute, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and NAMI.
Multicultural Action Center priorities include addressing:
- Disparities in treatment and services;
- Lack of bilingual/bicultural mental health professionals;
- Higher rates of misdiagnosis, institutionalization and suicide among youth of color;
- Overrepresentation of people of color with mental illnesses in the criminal and juvenile justice systems; and
- Underrepresentation of people of color in research studies and clinical trials.