With PHPDA funding, Ethiopian Community in Seattle (ECS) will design and implement the Mental Health Promotion (MHP) project to promote mental health wellness in the Ethiopian community through improved understanding and access to mental health services. The MHP project will address both the health outcome and access disparity of the under served in the Ethiopian community.
To understand the extent of the problem within the community, ECS conducted a survey which identified stress, anxiety and depression and drug addiction as the top mental health issues that affect their communities. Financial problems, lack of information about the U.S. system and language barriers were identified as common causes of stress.
The major takeaways from the survey and community discussions on mental health include:
1) There is stigma surrounding mental health which is partly caused by limited knowledge and/or myths. This stigma is also limiting the community to face the issue and jointly find ways to address it.
2) When community members face mental health issues they turn to religious leaders for advice. The religious leaders, more often than not, are not equipped with knowledge on how to identify and address different levels and/or types of mental health issues.
3) Most in the community do not know where to seek professional mental health support because of linguistic barriers.
Based on these three major findings, the MHP project will carry out three major activities which all build on each other and together address health access and outcome disparity. Major activities include:
• Educate the Ethiopian community on mental health to alleviate the associated stigma. Community members with increased understanding of mental health issues are expected to seek or provide support as needed within their community.
• Religious and community leaders, to whom the community turns to for consultation, will take Mental Health First Aid training thereby gaining the capacity to provide educated guidance to those who come to them for support.
• Provide Mental health consultations in religious places and at ECS at designated times. Utilizing the trainings that they took, churches will dedicate hours to consult those who seek support.
• Design, print and broadly share educational materials and list of mental health resources in three Ethiopian languages. The educational materials (flyers/brochures) will be designed to pictorially describe types of mental illnesses. This outreach will enable ECS to educate more community members on mental health beyond those who attend mental health trainings in person.
Ethiopian Community in Seattle
Ethiopian community in Seattle (ECS) is a community-based, non-profit organization located in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Southeast Seattle. ECS has been serving the community for more than 30 years. It was first established by a group of Ethiopians who wanted to help other fellow Ethiopian immigrants as they struggle to fit in a new country, the language and culture of which they know nothing or little about. ECS was and still is a welcoming center where all Ethiopian immigrants can find solace, comfort, social and cultural interaction, celebrations, and general assistance for solving real and immediate issues in establishing a new life.
Visit Ethiopian Community in Seattle website here.
Navos Mental Health Solutions
The mission of Navos is to transform the quality of life of people vulnerable to mental illness and addictions by providing a broad continuum of care.