The American Psychiatric Foundation issued a total of $35,000 in awards to psychiatrists, mental health professionals, and health-based organizations that serve minority populations at the foundation’s annual benefit dinner during APA’s 2014 annual meeting in New York in May.
The benefit, held at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum on the Hudson River, drew 150 guests who donated an estimated $150,000 toward community efforts to increase mental health awareness and services to underserved communities.
Winners of American Psychiatric Foundation’s Awards for Advancing Minority Mental Health pose with Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A, chair of the APF Board of Directors (second row, center).
Attendees were welcomed by APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., and Richard Harding, M.D., a professor of neuropsychiatry and behavioral science at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.
Levin and Harding, who serve, respectively, as chair and treasurer of the foundation’s Board of Directors, presented seven Awards for Advancing Minority Mental Health—each award came with a check for $5,000.
Metropolitan Family Services of Chicago received an award for providing mental health services to low-income families. “We are thankful to receive this award,” said Jean Xoubi, L.C.P.C., program director of adult mental health at Metropolitan Family Services, during an interview with Psychiatric News. “It definitely puts the spotlight on the need for mental health services, especially among minorities and those who are underserved.”
New York City–based Turnaround for Children was also given a service award for its creation of a “fortified teaching and learning” environment for minority children with cognitive and emotional disorders.
For extensive efforts to increase awareness of mental health issues in the community, Daolong Zhang, M.D., a psychiatrist in private practice in Chicago and an immigrant from China, was awarded for his weekly television program focusing on mental health–related issues in Chinese culture. Also receiving an award was the organization Partners in Suicide Prevention (PSP) for its efforts toward decreasing suicide among Spanish, Farsi, and Korean speakers in the Los Angeles area.
“It’s a great honor for me to be standing here,” stated PSP Training Coordinator, Jae Kim, L.C.S.W., in accepting the foundation award. “One of our goals is to identify ethnic populations that are more vulnerable to suicide and have limited access to treatment.”
Kim explained that Korean Americans have the highest rate of suicide among ethnic minority groups in California—with suicide accounting for more than 4 percent of deaths in this population. “If we continue our efforts [to increase suicide awareness among ethnic minorities], we can instill hope and let people know that help is available and that suicide is preventable.”
Other honorees included Healthy Start, which educates diverse populations on postpartum depression and treatment; Just Care Family Network, a Memphis program trying to dispel myths regarding mental illness; and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) New Jersey for increasing mental health awareness and reducing stigma associated with mental health among Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, and South Asian speakers.
“We are very mindful that profound stigma and lack of awareness about mental illness continues to cause great suffering in the communities we work with,” commented Aruna Rao, associate director of NAMI New Jersey. “I hope that this recognition allows us to tap into more resources to help more people.”
The Awards for Advancing Minority Mental Health were sponsored by Otsuka Pharmaceuticals. The benefit was sponsored by eight companies. ■