NAMI Greater Houston
Rockwell Fund, Inc. (RFI) invests in organizations that increase availability of and access to quality behavioral healthcare for uninsured and underinsured populations. RFI values programs such as the NAMI Greater Houston (NAMIGH) that consider racial and other social disparities in health access and outcomes. Racial disparities within the mental health system are well documented. Research conducted by the American Counseling Association shows that when compared to white people, BIPOC communities are:
- Less likely to have access to mental health services
- Less likely to seek services
- Less likely to receive needed care
- Most likely to receive poor quality of care
- Most likely to end services quickly
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health was unaffordable and inaccessible to many minority communities. The pandemic heightened this disparity. (Altiraifi, 2020). In response, NAMIGH organized a project on Mental Health Equity. The project is a collaboration of networks across communities to recruit and train mental health advocates to provide services in underserved communities. The project received national attention and funding from Beyonce Knowle’s BeyGood initiative and Jack Dorsey’s #startsmall initiative.
As part of the Mental Health Equity Project and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NAMIGH had to think of ways to make its services more accessible. NAMIGH began to deliver mental health services by moving all its programs to a virtual model and hiring peers in recovery to receive and make “warm line” calls. The warm line offered anyone the ability to call to receive early intervention emotional support and, thereby, potentially avert a crisis.
In addition, NAMIGH’s Nest model locates various levels of mental wellness support within community service centers (churches, daycare facilities, community- based organizations and school districts) to connect and engage with the most vulnerable populations. The nested hubs have naturally become successful navigation points for other services. To date, 7 “Nest” collaborations are at work (St. John’s United Methodist/Bread of Life, Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church, Imani Faith, First Metropolitan Baptist, the Rupani Foundation, Windsor Village Methodist, and Missouri City Baptist).
NAMIGH also offers free education programs, peer facilitated support groups and grassroots advocacy initiatives that enable families and consumers to better understand the complexities and challenges of living with a mental illness and, in doing so, become more effective self-advocates.
RFI supports the work done by NAMIGH to ensure that those in need have access to vital health services.
3555 Timmons lane, SUITE 950, HOUSTON, TX 77027