NAMI Ohio, “the state’s voice on mental illness” is governed by a 28-member board of directors. There are six members from four different regions of the state; three At-Large members and a Consumer Council representative. This is a very diverse group of members consisting of various genders, race, social-economic backgrounds, people living with mental illness and family members.
In May 2020, NAMI Ohio recognized that there is disparity in healthcare, especially mental health care. There is a giant gap in care as it relates to African Americans.
Over the past two and a half months, a number of meetings have been held and quite frankly, some of those meetings were uncomfortable. The board members discussed issues and how each of our lives are so different. NAMI Ohio is proud to present our Social Justice Statement that not only identifies our position but, more importantly, will guide our commitment to enhance our advocacy, education, and support in these under-served communities.
As you will see in this statement, we are asking all Ohioans to join us to eliminate public policy and societal practices which perpetuate prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination resulting in inequities and mental health disparities.
This statement was approved at the NAMI Ohio board meeting held Saturday, August 22nd. Today, we start our journey on this extremely important issue. We are excited that we have an opportunity to make change.
NAMI Ohio Social Justice Statement
NAMI Ohio is the voice for all Ohioans with mental illness regardless of age, gender, race or ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, language, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The impacts of structural and systemic racism on the mental health needs of Ohioans who are Black, indigenous, and people of color are real and devastating. The emotional, psychological, and physical manifestation of trauma negatively impact mental health and lead to mental health disparities. We believe that all individuals including communities of color and people with mental illness must be treated with respect and dignity and receive equitable health outcomes and full inclusion. NAMI Ohio denounces racism and racial discrimination in all its forms. As Ohio’s voice for mental illness, we will take action to make change through word and deed. We ask all Ohioans to join us to eliminate public policy and societal practices which perpetuate prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination resulting in inequities and mental health disparities.