Black Women's Mental Health: It Takes Courage to Ask for Help!

Depression can be as sneaky as a sucker punch; you often don't see it coming. A variety of circumstances put Black women at high risk for mental and emotional stress - economic insecurity, responsibilities of caregiving, neighborhood violence, lack of social support and physical illness or disability. As a result, many are plagued by tension, anxiety, worry and fear. Because of the powerful and complex links between the mind, emotions and body, chronic states of stress and anxiety can have dangerous and sometime fatal, health consequences. In addition, the daily struggles of coping with racism and sexism further exacerbate mental and emotional stress.

Mental Health Insurance Parity

Federal legislation requiring health insurance companies to cover mental illnesses at the same rate as physical illnesses is close to becoming law. The House and Senate have both passed parity bills, and the two houses are working together to draft a version that President Bush will sign, but they must do so by the end of July for parity to become law in 2009. California has had a mental health parity law since 2000. How is it working? How similar or different will federal legislation be? Will it address the pitfalls of California's law? Recently, public radio aired a discussion between advocates and industry representatives including Margot Rosenbach (author of a federally-funded study on the impact of California's mental health parity law), Rusty Selix (Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of California), David Wellstone (co-chair of Wellstone Action), Andrew Sperling (Director of Legislative Affairs for the National Alliance on Mental Illness), and Kelly Vogel (Vice President of Federal Affairs for America's Health Insurance Plans.)

Listen to the May 22nd discussion that aired on Larry Mantle’s “Air Talk” on KPCC 89.3. 


May/June 2008 Issue Guide

Exploring the Link between the Environment and Cancer

  • What role does the environment play in breast cancer?

  • Why do some groups of women bear a greater burden of this disease than others?

The answers to these questions have thus far eluded scientists, yet answering them could lead to great progress against breast cancer. Recognizing the need for more research into these questions, the California Breast Cancer Research Program (CBCRP) recently launched its Special Research Initiatives, a seven year effort to find answers that will push breast cancer research forward. CBCRP has set aside 30 percent of its funds over the next several years for the Special Research Initiatives (SRI), totaling approximately $23 million dollars.