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060821 Ending Health Disparities Action Guide

We know from our own research and from that of our colleagues that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected the mental and physical health of BIPOC communities and children. Without action, these health disparities will widen and have a long-lasting impact on these families. But our/the research also points to what we, as caregivers, family members, teachers, healthcare providers, community members, and allies, can do to address the root causes of these health disparities, support resilience, and mitigate these negative effects.

The best approach to supporting families is by addressing the multilevel influences that contribute to these disparities by dismantling racist laws and practices and by embedding supports across the numerous systems that children are embedded in (e.g., families, schools, healthcare, neighborhoods, peers, etc.). The more action we take across these systems, the more change we can make.

What follows are our top suggestions for action according to the role you play in the lives of children. Find the related article we wrote here and more about the Child and Family Health Promotion Lab here.

Parents: Support Family Mental Health

  1. Monitor your mental health and your family’s mental health
  2. Set a good example of self-care by engaging in value-based activities, seeking support (e.g. social support, mental health apps), and practicing healthy coping strategies (e.g. mindfulness, physical activity, relaxation).
  3. Support your child’s mental health by helping them to engage in value-based activities, increasing their social support and mental health support (e.g. regular check-ins, increase positive peer relationships, mental health apps), and teaching and practicing healthy coping strategies (e.g. mindfulness, physical activity, deep breathing).
  4. Seek online/ in-person therapy for you and your family if needed
    1. Follow the link to learn more about child therapy services that work Effective Child Therapy
    2. Follow the link to learn more about parent therapy services that work APA Psychological Treatment Database and Find CBT Therapist

Teachers: Support Student Mental Health

  1. Complete anti-racism trainings
    1. Follow link to learn more about educator trainings Anti-Racist Training-Educators
  2. Discuss observed changes in child mental health with caregiver and child when appropriate
  3. Advocate for school based mental health programs.
    1. Follow link to learn what schools can do to support child mental health School Mental Health
  4. Create a list of community programs and resources and share with all families. (e.g. food banks, free and reduced meal plan, support groups)

Healthcare Providers: Support Family Mental Health

  1. Complete anti-racism trainings
    1. Follow link to learn more about healthcare provider trainings Conscious Anti-Racism in Healthcare Course
    2. American Medical Association Equity Plan
  2. Advocate for anti-racism trainings in your healthcare system
  3. Routinely screen for child and parent mental health and other drivers of health
    1. Mental Health Screener Database
    2. Social Determinants of Health Screener
    3. Mental health toolkit for pediatric providers Pediatric Mental Health Screener
  4. Utilize a stepped care design by delivering the most effective, least resource heavy treatments and then step up care where needed.
    1. Follow the link to learn more about Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment

Everyone: Support Family Mental Health

  1. See National Agenda to support child mental health National Agenda for Children's Mental Health
  2. Complete Anti-Racist Trainings
    1. How to be Anti-Racist
    2. 10 Keys to Everyday Anti-Racism
  3. Enhance your relationships with BIPOC communities to learn about their strengths and resilience and how to collaboratively support their community needs
  4. Learn more about CDC COVID-19 Health Disparities
  5. Learn more about Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health
  6. Learn more about health equity
    1. Health Equity Law
    2. Healthy People Tools and Resources
    3. RWJF Resources to Achieve Health Equity
    4. Dr. Camara Jones- Allegories on Race and Racism