‘We need to go where they are’: WC Health expands mental health services to reach more minorities

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Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 9:29 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - A recent partnership is helping WC Health reach more Nevadans.

Minority communities, including people of color, the LGBTQIA and immigrant families experience unique challenges when it comes to mental health. From limited availability and affordability to cultural stigma, discrimination and a lack of awareness.

“There’s cultural bias and a lack of sensitivity in a lot of places,” said Amy Roukie, director of growth strategies at WC Health.

Although behavioral health disorders may not differ from the general population, the pandemic has spotlighted racial and ethnic inequalities when it comes to access.

“We need to go where they are, we need to know what’s happening in their world that impacts their ability to maintain stability,” said Roukie.

She explains the organization recently partnered with Alliance Mental Health Specialists to expand psychiatric services and medication management.

“Historically in our community, it was a six-week wait, minimally, after someone got out of the hospital for psychiatric evaluation and medications,” said Roukie. “Well, someone who’s been recently stabilized can’t do with that wait, so we make sure that you’re seen rapidly. That as soon as you’re discharged from the hospital, we get you an appointment.”

With this new partnership, WC Health has added psychiatrists, physician assistants, and psychiatric nurse practitioners who have been serving not just adults but children and adolescents.

According to Roukie, this will also allow them to accept any insurance.

“Our services now are also being staffed with a diverse group of clinicians,” she said. “We also have clinicians speaking a variety of languages and we intentionally have staff that’s as diverse as the representation of our community.”

The organization recognizes that although its system is not perfect, they’re always working to do more outreach in the community and let Nevadans know there are resources available.

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