State legislators set to collaborate with faith-based, medical, academic, and patient communities to combat depression
Indianapolis–Amidst recent reports of the connections between mental illness and large-scale acts of violence, Black lawmakers from across the United States shall convene at the National Black Caucus of State Legislators’ (NBCSL) 20th Annual Black Dialogue on Health on October 11, 2013 to discuss legislative solutions and innovative partnerships that will address depression in the African-American community. This symposium will stream on October 11th live from 9:00am EST to 3:15pm EST and online viewers can participate at http://dialogueonhealth.nbcsl.org/.
The theme of this year’s conference is “Breaking Through Depression: What Causes it, What it Looks Like, What to Do About it.” To be held in the state’s capital, the event shall focus on:
- Leveraging the Affordable Care Act to increase access to mental health services
- Dispelling myths about the causes and manifestations of depression among African Americans, and
- Building relationships with faith-based communities to address depression.
“Depression is a very disabling condition and has the potential to impact all areas of life. As state leaders we must come together with other stakeholders to develop effective solutions for our constituents,” said NBCSL President Joe Armstrong, Tennessee State Representative.
Event highlights include keynote speakers and panel discussions. Legislators are set to discuss:
- Aspects of African-American culture and experience that can heighten risk factors for depression
- Manifestations of depression in African Americans and how gender, socioeconomic condition, or education can affect expressions of the disease
- Effective treatments, diagnosis, and care, including reasons for noncompliance, the need for culturally competent care, and instances of misdiagnosis.
As lawmakers on the state and national level continue to create policy solutions that provide access to care while balancing the budget, this meeting comes at an opportune time. President Armstrong continued, “The implementation of health care reform provides additional opportunities to address depression as state funding for mental health services has decreased. Through expansions of Medicaid and provisions of additional health insurance coverage through insurance exchanges, Americans shall have increased access to mental health services despite political rhetoric.”
The conference has been supported through contributions from Eli Lilly and Company for the past 20 years.
The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) is a membership association representing more than 600 African-American state legislators hailing from 42 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. NBCSL members represent more than 50 million Americans of various racial backgrounds. NBCSL monitors federal and state activity and provides this information to its members through policy symposiums and conferences. Each year, NBCSL members pass policy resolutions that directly impact federal and state policy. The organization focuses on issues that directly impact US domestic policy and is committed to policies that positively affect all Americans.