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Report: Poor Mental Health Among African Americans In St. Louis Decreases Opportunities For Success

Jason Purnell
Washington University
Jason Purnell

Third Brief: For the Sake of All

The third brief of a groundbreaking and interdisciplinary study on African American health in St. Louis examines how mental health affects social and economic opportunities.

The latest brief in the “For the Sake of All” study asks how we can improve mental health in St. Louis. 

Darrell Hudson, assistant professor in the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, wrote the latest report.  “People dealing with mental health challenges are less likely to complete school, and low educational achievement is strongly associated with lower earnings,” he said.

Hudson joined host Don Marsh in addition to Jason Purnell, assistant professor in the Brown School of Social Work and lead researcher on the overall project, and Joe Yancey, executive director of Places for People, an organization which serves people recovering from mental illness and associated chronic illness.

The study recommends several areas where mental health in St. Louis can be improved (as quoted):

  • Improve awareness efforts to tackle stigma and misinformation around mental health.
  • Improve screening by encouraging medical providers to identify patients earlier and coordinate these services at homeless shelters and food pantries.
  • Invest in community mental health centers in areas where there is the most mental health need.
  • Establish a system for tracking patient mental health treatment and rates of new mental health conditions.
  • Improve the accessibility of publicly available mental health data.
  • Develop a public reporting system with standard definitions of mental health conditions.

St. Louis on the Air provides discussion about issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh.

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