Minorities and Mental Health: A Town Hall Discussion on 92Q

211 Maryland joined Radio One Baltimore and Springboard Community Services for a discussion on Minorities and Mental Health.

Minorities and mental health

Quinton Askew, president and CEO of 211 Maryland and Elana Bouldin, Director of Compliance, Quality & Training at Springboard Community Services joined 92Q to discuss minorities and mental health.

The group talked about the need for more black mental health professionals and people in the medical community who can understand and empathize with racial trauma.

They talked about the impact of life-long uncertainty, paranoia, and trauma on one’s mental health.

“For black men I think sometimes we miss those signs. We might ignore them or see them as a sign of weakness,” Askew explained. “It’s not weakness. It’s strength seeking that help and engaging with other men about what we’re feeling and dealing with.”

Help is there. Reach out and take the first step.

Springboard Community Services, formerly Family & Children’s Services, also provides help. The organization strengthens families through hope and healing. They provide mental health support and counseling, violence intervention services, education and training and more.

“I know it is especially difficult for us. We come from a system that doesn’t really want to help us so I get it. I really do. There are a lot of practitioners out there that look like us now,” explained Bouldin.

She encouraged people to call for help, as empathetic and caring people are ready to support Marylanders in their journey.

211 offers free and confidential support

When you call 2-1-1, you’re connected to a trained and professional 211 specialist.

“Our role is to serve as that connector,” Askew said. “It’s free and confidential.”

211 specialists are expert listeners.

“We really try to help individuals figure out that maze of who is providing what service, how do I connect to that service, am I eligible? We provide all that basic information,” Askew explained. “Based on what you are telling us, these are the services you are eligible for. We can provide that information based on where they live, what their ZIP code is. We can provide that information and say here is where you need to go to get the services that you need.”

Follow-up calls are also done to make sure the individual was able to find the resources they need.

“Don’t worry about what the need is. Just call us and we’ll help you figure that out,” Askew explained.

211 utilizes a comprehensive resource database with over 7,000 statewide resources including free and low-cost services.

“You tell us what’s going on. Based on what you’re telling me, here’s how we can connect you,” Askew said.

211 is a statewide nonprofit with an easy-to-remember number, 2-1-1, that connects Marylanders to support 24/7. If you need help with mental health, food, employment, health care, child care, housing or utility support – a caring and compassionate person is available to help. Dial 2-1-1.

211 Health Check

211 also provides a weekly check-in with a caring and compassionate 211 specialist, trained in suicide prevention, to support Marylanders’ mental health needs.

211 Health Check was created by state legislators in honor of Tommy Raskin, the son of Congressman Jamie Raskin, who died by suicide.

“This was someone who had a great family. Who was going to a great school and had a great support system but was struggling with his mental health. This 211 Health Check program does it allows someone to call 211 and sign up for the program and it provides a weekly check-in call.”

It’s free and confidential.

“They can call and say, hey, I want a call at 6 p.m. every Monday just to check-in. There is a crisis specialist who will call you at 6 and say how are you doing? How are things today? Is there anything I can connect you with? If everything is good, we’ll call you back next week. You can stay with this as long as you want or after 30 days say I’ll call you back if there’s something I need.”

“I love that, because you have that accountability partner. If you don’t have that on in a friend or a family member, 211 or Springboard can become your new family member. Someone who can help you in the moment,” explained radio/TV personality, Persia Nicole with 92 Q.

She encouraged listeners to pass on the information because if you’re not struggling, you probably know someone who is struggling.

“This is something good that came out of the pandemic because we weren’t really doing Health Checks on one another. Health has become a really big thing now. It’s like the cool thing to do that everybody wants to check up on one another,” Nicole explained.

Domestic Violence

Springboard Community Services works with victims of crime including situations of domestic violence and family violence. Whether you need support with the situation or the mental impact of it, Springboard is one of the community resources that can help.

“When we think about abuse, abuse is all about that concept of power and control. When you feel like someone is taking away or trying to take away your power and control. You should start having those things going up saying maybe something is not quite right. It doesn’t have to be that hitting or that pushing or that fighting. It can be occasional insults. It can be this mind game,” Bouldin explained.

Reach out. Sometimes making that first call is hard, but that’s the best step to get help.

211 is also able to help victims of abuse find connections to shelters, counseling and other support.

Listen to the full conversation – Minorities and Mental Health.

[Editors Note: If you need behavioral health help, call or text 988.]

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