May 22, 2018

Reducing the stigma around mental health

Kaiser Permanente provides grants to reduce stigma of mental illness.

OAKLAND, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente announced a $2 million investment to support community organizations in their work to reduce the stigma around mental illness. Twenty-five Northern California organizations were awarded community health grants, including school districts, youth and family services, and community coalitions that bring together a variety of stakeholders and agencies to serve people that historically shy away from getting mental health services.

“Stigma is influenced by our cultural belief systems and it impacts our decisions to seek care, even in times of crisis,” said Yener Balan, MD, executive director of behavioral health for Kaiser Permanente in Northern California. “Kaiser Permanente believes that a person’s culture should be at the center of their health care experience, not a barrier to getting the care they need.”

The $2 million anti-stigma investment will support community organizations in developing trainings, public forums and awareness campaigns that are customized for specific populations. This is the first part of a three-year initiative.

Yvette Radford, vice president of external and community affairs for Kaiser Permanente Northern California, credits community health organizations and health care providers that attended Kaiser Permanente’s 2017 Mental Health Forum with playing a critical role in shaping the initiative.

“Forum attendees participated in breakout sessions to talk about the challenges they face in addressing stigma and make specific recommendations on how we could best support their work,” said Radford.

She also said that addressing stigma is a major priority for Kaiser Permanente, and that the investments in Northern California are designed to complement the Find Your Words campaign, which the organization launched in 2016 with partners including the  National Alliance on Mental IllnessNational Suicide Prevention LifelineCrisis Text Line and  Mental Health America.

“We hope to reach as many people as possible with these efforts,” said Radford. “Equally important to us is discovering innovative approaches for dispelling the mental illness myths and misunderstandings that keep people from reaching their best overall health.”

The complete list of grantees includes:

  • Antioch Unified School District, Antioch
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of North San Mateo, South San Francisco
  • Camarena Health Centers, Madera
  • Caminar for Mental Health, San Jose
  • City of Fremont Human Services Department, Fremont
  • Daly City Youth Health Center, Daly City
  • Delta Health Care, Stockton
  • Elk Grove Unified School District, Elk Grove
  • Encompass Community Service Center, Santa Cruz
  • First 5 Solano, Fairfield
  • Health Education Council, West Sacramento
  • Instituto Familiar de la Raza (to support the Chicano, Latino/Indigena Health Equity Coalition), San Francisco
  • La Clinica de la Raza, Pittsburg
  • La Familia Counseling, Hayward
  • LifeLong Medical Center, Richmond
  • LifeWorks of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa
  • North Marin Community Services, San Rafael
  • Momentum for Health, Santa Clara County
  • Rafiki Coalition for Health and Wellness (to support the African American Community Health Equity Council), San Francisco
  • The PRIDE Center, San Mateo
  • Richmond Area Multi-Services (to support the Asian Pacific Islander Health Parity Coalition), San Francisco
  • San Juan Unified School District (to support the White House Counseling Center), Carmichael
  • Solano County/Solano Family Justice Center, Fairfield
  • West Modesto Collaborative, Modesto
  • Youth Radio, Oakland

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.2 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.