414: Five Mental Health Steps, Corporate Health Equity

Schroeder Stribling, President and CEO of Mental Health America, says focusing on early prevention and wellness activities can improve mental health outcomes; the Public Health Review podcast has a new episode on STI care models and patient...

Schroeder Stribling, President and CEO of Mental Health America, says focusing on early prevention and wellness activities can improve mental health outcomes; the Public Health Review podcast has a new episode on STI care models and patient engagement; Dr. Nicole Alexander Scott, Former ASTHO Board President, is on the CVS Health National Health Equity Advisory Board; and ASTHO has a blog article about how the Alaska Division of Public Health uses data to improve children’s lives.

About MHA Screening

Mental Health Month Toolkit

CVS Health celebrates Minority Health Month with launch of National Health Equity Advisory Board

Reducing STI Stigma Through Inclusive Care Strategies

Leveraging Data Linkage to Address Adverse Childhood Experiences



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This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Friday, May 5, 2023. I'm Robert Johnson.

Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.



Public health at the local level can first be advanced by getting upstream—that is, promoting prevention and wellness activities.


Schroeder Stribling is president and CEO of Mental Health America, making the case for more early attention to the needs of people dealing with mental health concerns.


We know that this saves unnecessary distress and a worsening of mental health symptoms. It saves taxpayer dollars in the long run. And, most importantly, it saves lives by preventing crises.


Stribling says the answer lies in reaching people as soon as possible.


So getting upstream means focusing on mental health from the very earliest of ages, starting with child and maternal mental health. And research tells us that focusing on child and family wellbeing in those ages of zero to five is strongly correlated with better mental health outcomes for both adolescents and adults. So therefore, schools and community centers become critical vectors for reaching children and families with education and awareness programs and with direct services, which start with screening and early intervention for those who are at risk.


Investment in prevention and promotion activities, according to Stribling, isn't sufficient to reach people before they're in crisis.


Too often, people experience a worsening of their mental health conditions before they're able to get access to the help that they need and that's effective for them. And this creates an undue burden for the individuals and for their families, those persons who are coping with mental and behavioral health conditions.


Stribling says the answer is found in five easy to remember approaches.


Moving upstream, focusing on youth, addressing the social drivers of health, integrating physical and mental healthcare, and chiefly by involving those who are most affected in the creation of solutions.


May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and get a toolkit by visiting Mental Health America's website—we have a link in the show notes.


Also today, stigma can prevent people from getting the mental health care they need. It's also a problem when trying to help those living with a sexually transmitted infection. Learn how STI care models can improve patient engagement in a new episode of the Public Health Review podcast. It's available now using the link in the show notes.


CVS Health has launched a national health equity advisory board. Former ASTHO board president Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott is on the panel.


I have a real passion for ensuring that we can maximize our impact on investing in communities, particularly those that have been disinvested in year after year. And this opportunity with CVS Health on the National Health Equity Advisory Board is really in alignment with being able to address the importance of lifting up our communities throughout the country.


Alexander-Scott says the board is designed to help the company better serve its communities.


The initial focus of the board will include providing recommendations on implementation of the overall health equity strategy of CVS Health. We'll also be advising on ways to improve data collection and using it to advance health equity effectively.


Alexander-Scott is a health equity champion. She wants to help this group make an impact.


Any focus that we have on addressing the discrimination impact of historically marginalized communities is a critical opportunity. We need to be able to call out what exists nationally and what has happened throughout this country—really understand the embodiment of racism, and ableism, and so many of those characteristics that we know need to change.


You can read more about the board using the link in the show notes.


Finally this morning, linking data from different sources could lead to solutions that can help prevent child abuse. A project in Alaska seeks to connect data points that can help children have better lives. You can listen to an interview about the project—that's on episode 412 of this newscast. It aired on May 3. You also can read an ASTHO blog article about the work. We've got links in the show notes.


That'll do it for today's newscast. We're back Monday morning with more ASTHO news and information.

I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great weekend.

Schroeder Stribling MSW

President and CEO, Mental Health America

Nicole Alexander-Scott MD MPH

Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health