Equality and Equity

For many of us, the result of the presidential election was surprising and left us wondering what it meant for our country. Part of the uncertainty came from the statements and sentiments of us vs. them embedded in the discourse leading up to and following the election. Gender, race, national origin, sexual and gender orientation, education, geographic location, social and income divisions showed up and affected how individuals thought about their choice for president. At the moment, it is hard to find messages of reconciliation and commitment to move forward as an entire nation that is authentic and meaningful.

All of the ways in which we find ourselves divided can impact the way in which we think about the health, including mental health, of the whole population. Since our inception at CM, we have always supported a public health approach to health. We believe that health and well-being for communities can be achieved if we promote positive health, prevent problems early, treat health conditions effectively as and when needed, and support individuals to reclaim a fulfilling life in the presence of a health condition or challenge. In our public health approach, we offer a framework that includes assessment, intervention (promotion, prevention, treatment, and reclaiming) and ensuring health (access, quality and well-being). The framework is built on a foundation of values in which we encourage local stakeholder groups to identify and define for themselves taking a systemic approach.

So what do the election outcomes and a public health approach have in common? Equality and Equity. In a public health approach, taking a population lens to health and well-being requires systems and structures that increase access and opportunity to achieve optimal health for all. In our democracy, equality has been cited as a core value of the formation and evolution of our country since the beginning. Equality holds that all people must be treated fairly and with dignity, and be able to gain access to opportunities for education, economic success, political involvement, and a fulfilling life. It is time for us to step back and think about whether we still continue, as human beings and US Citizens, to commit to equality as a core value. And if the answer is yes, what does that look like? What are we prepared to do in service of our commitment to equality?

Equity in a public health approach means that all people are treated fairly and with dignity and can access support that is focused on what they need to achieve health and well-being in environments where they live, learn, work and play. Equity in our diverse mosaic of a country means that we have to be vigilant to support and ensure that all people (and we do mean all) find what they need, in places where they live, to flourish individually, and contribute their gifts to their communities.

Equality and Equity are defining values in our work at CM. These values help guide who we want to be in our work, and the important work that we choose to do every day. Outside of our professional identities, we persevere to and take steps to promote equality and equity in our everyday personal interactions. To connect, engage, and show respect to those who may be different from us; to speak up against discrimination when needed instead of condoning it or standing by; to be grateful and show grace. We are striving for this and encourage you to do the same however you can, and wherever you can.

“When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect toward others.” Dalai Lama

Another helpful resource: When to Take a Stand and When to let it Go: https://www.ted.com/talks/ash_beckham_when_to_take_a_stand_and_when_to_let_it_go

For more information on how to ensure equality and equity is a hallmark within your systems, structures, programs, and services, contact us at questions@changematrix.org.

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Coaching Tool: The Wheel of Life

In our coaching training, we at CM were introduced to a tool called the wheel of life (WOL). The purpose of the WOL is to identify different areas of your life, be able to see areas as part of a whole, and assess your level of satisfaction in each area. Often, completing the tool reminds you that while you might feel challenged in one area, you don’t in others. The process of completing the tool allows you to see balance and imbalances in overall satisfaction with the whole and a sense of where to focus your effort to increase overall satisfaction.

The WOL can be used as an individual, for your organization or an overall system. Steps for using the wheel:

  • Draw a circle
  • Divide it up in to 8 equal pieces
  • Write or label each piece with a domain or area. (for example, as individuals, we chose domains such as health, family, friends, work, leisure, faith, etc.)
  • Rate your current level of satisfaction with each area from 1 to 10 (10 being the highest)

When looking at your WOL, what do you see?
What surprises you?
What feels challenging?
What are you motivated to do to increase those domains with lower scores?

Keep the wheel and reassess every few months to see where you moved, where you didn’t and recommit.

This tool was adapted from The Circle of Life by:
Williams, J.A. (2014) Super Training Guide: Academic Life Coaching’s Training Program. Academic Life Coaching: Portland, OR

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National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month Is a Time for Action

July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. At, CM our values of social justice and equity guide our work and passions. July is a time to further highlight the need for all of us to increase our awareness and knowledge and turn that into action. We are always eager to share our content and training experiences in addressing health disparities and equity.

Here are a few resources to share:

NNED share: a collaborative space to share resources and intervention efforts to improve the delivery of behavioral health care interventions in diverse populations, learn about resources and innovative community efforts across the county, and connect with others to learn from each other and support each other’s efforts.

NNED Community-defined Evidence Project Learning Cluster: This project developed an inventory of effective practices in the Latino community and an approach to community-defined evidence applicable to ethnic and cultural groups and was related to the development of the CRDP in CA through the leadership of Dr. Rachel Guerrero.

NAMI Infographic on Minority Mental Health: The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has developed fact sheets and infographics about the prevalence and impact of mental illness in diverse communities.

Advancing Health Equity for Native American Youth: This report summarizes presentations and discussions from a workshop by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Presenters describe cultural strengths, including community traditions and beliefs, social support networks, close-knit families, and individual resilience.

Black & African American Communities and Mental Health: Mental Health America has developed unique materials for Black/African Americans, you can download brochures, fact sheets and access other resources on their website.

A Snapshot of Behavioral Health Issues for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Boys and Men: This brief highlights the issues related to (a) gender and identity, (b) social determinants of health and well-being, (c) mental health, substance use, and sexual health, (d) misdiagnosis, treatment bias, and the lack of culturally competent screening instruments and treatment strategies in behavioral health, (d) the impact of profiling and stereotypes on behavior, and (e) unique culturally based strategies and programs.

Mental Health — Faith & Spirituality: This brief was developed by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The organizations are working together to increase mental health awareness in the African American community.

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