We WIN When . . .

We Support Equity in Our Communities

By: Crystal G, WIN President and WIN Leadership

     During June, we’ve been able to gather together as a community, mostly all vaccinated, to celebrate Juneteenth and Pride. We’ve embraced our differences and worked at increasing our understanding. But Juneteenth and Pride have also pointed out how much work we have yet to do. Many of those whom the events celebrated lack the same equity afforded to the rest of the population. Foremost and frightening among the inequities that minority and LGBTQ+ folk experience is the degree to which mental health can suffer in their communities. The pandemic has made one thing abundantly clear: access to healthcare, including mental healthcare, is not equal.

     To a significant extent, harmful bills pushed through our statehouse by Republican legislators impact our entire population, dividing us as a community and denying our children a truthful history, proper healthcare, and basic acknowledgement of identity – all of which increases the need for mental healthcare. For children in poor neighborhoods, a need less likely to be met.



     Poor neighborhoods clearly face a unique set of inequities that others do not. Lack of access to physicians, inadequate funding for schools and quality teachers, insufficient nutritious food options and the resulting chance of lifelong health issues such as diabetes and heart problems lead potentially to increased violence and crime, along with a disproportionate number of people with long term mental health problems such as stress, PTSD, and major depressive disorders.    

    We have a handful of organizations that work hard to decrease mental healthcare disparities in our county. After his father’s death in the August 4, 2019, Dayton mass shooting, Dion Green took his loss and repurposed it by creating the Fudge Foundation in his father’s honor. The Fudge Foundation works to help survivors, victims, and their families deal with the unique grief resulting from violence and mass shootings. Moms Demand Action works to try to keep guns out of the hands of would-be mass shooters and to prevent/reduce the number of suicides by gun. Project Woman helps women and children in immediate danger from partner abuse. Springfield Citilookout Trauma Recovery Center specializes in trauma therapy, connecting underserved and vulnerable people with needed services and resources.

     WIN has collaborated with these organizations and local law enforcement, hosting gun violence forums that have highlighted the strong correlation between violence and mental health. Many of the violent offenders in our jail are in need of mental healthcare rather than incarceration, for instance. (Sheriff Burchett has noted that nearly half of the inmates at anytime are repeat offenders suffering from mental health issues.)Virtual forums such as these create a safe space for continued discussion of the systematic disparities that impact Clark County. Stay tuned for the next in our gun violence series – this time focusing on the impact of gun violence on mental health and what can be done to reduce the overwhelmingly disproportionate number of Black Americans and LGBTQIA+ folks incarcerated across our state and nationwide.