Community needs include a wide range of livability categories, such as safety, healthcare, affordable housing, neighborhood, transportation, mobility, education, economic independence, natural environment, opportunity, and others. A combination of these factors helps create a healthy and developed community whose members are empowered to grow as individuals and build a society that promotes equality, well-being, comfort, and happiness (Sharma & Branscum, 2020). In particular, community mental health services are crucial to meet one of the primary needs of every neighborhood. This paper aims to identify this specific need in my student community, discuss a non-profit organization that will address it, and develops a service delivery plan.
Social stigma is one of the factors that affect my student community and prevent individuals from seeking professional help. The consequences of such a tendency threaten the well-being of citizens and reduce their quality of life. As reported by National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) (2022), “the average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years” (para. 8). These statistics show that there is a strong need to address the community’s mental health need to lessen the adverse impact on people’s well-being.
Furthermore, certain social groups are disproportionally affected by the problem in the United States, which means that they require additional effort from service agencies and organizations. According to NAMI (2022), the following demographic groups are particularly impacted by mental illnesses annually: lesbian, gay, or bisexual (47.4%), non-Hispanic mixed/multiracial (35.8%), and white (22.6%) (para. 6). They are followed by Hispanic or Latino (18.4%), American Indian or Alaska Native (18.7%), black or African-American (17.3%), Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (16.6%), and Asian (13.9%) (NAMI, 2022, para. 6). Moreover, student communities are often impacted by specific mental issues, namely stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, and depression. Considering the adverse effects of these factors, there is a need to address the problem and promote mental health in the given student community.
A Non-Profit Organization That Services the Community Need
Various organizations in the United States deal with the problem of community mental health and provide relevant services. In this paper, the National Alliance on Mental Illness was selected to address the issue of my student community. NAMI is a non-profit organization that aims to provide support, advocacy, and education for individuals affected by mental illness and their close ones. Its core values include empowerment, compassion, hope, inclusion, and fairness, and the alliance’s primary goal is to help the affected people improve their quality of life (NAMI, n.d.). As part of its overall mission, the organization promotes student mental health, which is why it was selected to address the given community need. NAMI (n.d.) reports that “school-based mental health services bring trained mental health professionals into schools and school-linked mental health services connect youth and families to more intensive resources in the community” (para. 6). As can be seen, this organization can address the community’s needs and help promote students’ mental health.
Service Delivery Plan
The proposed service delivery plan is based on the idea of providing community-centered mental health services. Rosen et al. (2020) claim that the mental health services balance must shift “from hospital-centered with community outreach when convenient for staff, to community-centered and mobile, with in-reach to the hospital only when necessary” (p. 375). In other words, staff and students should be educated about student mental health, and the proposed program’s strategy must be implemented through school policy.
To begin with, it is necessary to determine the specific aspects of the problem in the given community. As Torres Stone et al. (2020) report, “despite the existence of numerous efficacious treatments for mental disorders, many individuals in need do not receive adequate treatment particularly racial and ethnic minorities” (p. 947). Therefore, it is crucial to identify the existing conditions and signs of mental issues in students. To achieve this objective, skilled professionals from NAMI must monitor students’ mental health to determine risk factors and react accordingly promptly. An inclusive approach is vital to ensure that all racial and ethnic groups have access to mental health services.
In addition, training programs must be implemented for service users (students) and their families to raise awareness of the problem and improve the community’s mental health and well-being. Guidance, quality information, and access to services should be ensured to address the existing problems and promote a proactive approach to the problem (Rosen et al., 2020). Self-help tools, training, and meetings can be used to provide the necessary knowledge, support, and a feeling of belonging to students. Overall, community mental health professionals from NAMI should be involved in the planning and management processes of the proposed program.
To summarize, mental and physical health are two vital aspects of life that are closely related and interdependent. Despite the significant improvement in clinical approaches to mental health issues and the growing public awareness of the problem, many people continue to suffer from its impact. The proposed service delivery plan for my student community suggests that National Alliance on Mental Illness can address the community’s needs and promote the mental health and well-being of students.
National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2022). Mental health by the numbers. NAMI.
National Alliance on Mental Illness. (n.d.). Mental health in schools. NAMI.
Rosen, A., Gill, N. S., & Salvador-Carulla, L. (2020). The future of community psychiatry and community mental health services. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 33(4), 375-390.
Sharma, M., & Branscum, P. (2020). Foundations of mental health promotion (2nd ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Torres Stone, R. A., Cardemil, E. V., Keefe, K., Bik, P., Dyer, Z., & Clark, K. E. (2020). A community mental health needs assessment of a racially and ethnically diverse population in New England: Narratives from community stakeholders. Community Mental Health Journal, 56(5), 947-958.