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Health conference to focus on depression in African American community

Special to The Dallas Examiner | 10/14/2013, 11:26 a.m.
Tennessee Rep. Joe Armstrong, President of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators

Special to The Dallas Examiner

Black lawmakers from across the country will convene at the National Black Caucus of State Legislators 20th Annual Black Dialogue on Health on Friday in Indianapolis, Ind., to discuss legislative solutions and innovative partnerships that will address depression in the African American community.

The symposium will be streamed live from 8 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. CDT. Online viewers can participate at http://www.dialogueonhealth.nbcsl.org. As lawmakers on the state and national level continue to create policy solutions that provide access to care while balancing the budget, this meeting comes at an opportune time.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Breaking Through Depression: What Causes It, What It Looks Like, What to Do about It.” The event will focus on leveraging the Affordable Care Act to increase access to mental health services, dispelling myths about the causes of depression among African Americans, and building relationships with faith-based communities to address depression.

“Depression is a very disabling condition and has the potential to impact all areas of life. As state leaders we must come together with other stakeholders to develop effective solutions for our constituents,” said NBCSL President Joe Armstrong, Tennessee state representative.

Event highlights include keynote speakers and panel discussions. Legislators will discuss aspects of African American culture and experience that can heighten risk factors for depression, manifestations of depression in African American communities and effective treatments, diagnosis and care, and instances of misdiagnosis.

“The implementation of health care reform provides additional opportunities to address depression as state funding for mental health services has decreased. Through expansions of Medicaid and provisions of additional health insurance coverage through insurance exchanges, Americans shall have increased access to mental health services despite political rhetoric,” he said.

For more information, visit http://www.nbcsl.org.