WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO
The Mental Health ACCESS program recognizes the aspirational, yet fundamentally unattainable goal of cultural competence. Therefore, we would like to acknowledge the limitation of the title, the Advancement of Culturally COMPETENT Education to Stop Stigma. Our conceptual framework as it pertains to our overt and highly intentional multicultural approach, objectives, and curriculum is more appropriately described as culturally humble, celebratory, explorative, curious, expressive, experiential, and targeted. Through these processes, we will advance in our ongoing quest toward cultural competency!
Advancement of Culturally Competent Education to Stop Stigma
Racial-ethnic cultural differences between mental health providers and patients often results in increased likelihood for misdiagnosis and culturally incompetent practice. This lack of competency has contributed to disproportionately poor health outcomes for racial-ethnic minorities, which directly correlates to mental health stigma. Though efforts have been made to increase providers’ cultural competency, there has been little progress in diversifying the field of mental health providers.
By exposing adolescents of color to the mental health professions, the Mental Health Advancement of Culturally Competent Education to Stop Stigma (ACCESS) program aims to increase the number of providers of color in mental health fields. In addition to early career exposure, ACCESS aims to increase participants’ knowledge of specific mental illness, resources, and treatment; reduce stigma; increase self-efficacy for career selection and college readiness; and build capacity for mental health advocacy.