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Central State takes part in new BIPOC focused behavioral health study

Central State University
Central State University is one of four entities who contributed to the study, and Ohio's only public HBCU.

Central State University has teamed up with Ohio University and two state organizations – the Mental Health & Addiction Advocacy Coalition and Multiethnic Advocates for Cultural Competence, Inc. – to conduct a new study focusing on marginalized population’s access to behavioral health treatment.

The Behavioral Health in Ohio: Improving Data, Moving Toward Racial and Ethnic Equity study takes a look at different racial and ethnic groups experiencing different levels of access to behavioral healthcare.

It will be released in four parts throughout 2023.

Behavioral health is a label that includes mental health and substance abuse disorders. Similar to physical illnesses, behavioral health issues can affect quality of life and life expectancy.

However, the treatment and care needed to treat these issues are often blocked by barriers, especially for racial and ethnic minorities.

“Health disparities are an unfortunate reality,” Omesh Johar, an associate professor of psychology at Central State, said. “Marginalized groups may not be receiving the care that they need for a variety of reasons.”

Some of these reasons include stigma around behavioral health issues, racism, and provider bias. Without proper treatment, individuals can experience worse behavioral health outcomes.

Johar said he hopes as the various parts are released, conversations are started in Ohio “that leads to a heightened awareness about these issues, to being able to help policymakers use the findings of the study [and] identify areas and regions that deserve attention.”

“We definitely hope that our project will maybe permeate through some of those channels and the decision making bodies that decide what should be done to support what kind of research we should be supporting and funding and so on,” Johar said.

The first part of the study provides an overview of the issues surrounding race, ethnicity, and behavioral health. The second installment will focus on the behavioral health workforce and how they may be affecting the barriers; the third will look at treatment; and the fourth will address the funding of behavioral health services.

Garrett is a WYSO intern and graduate of University of Dayton. He spent time covering the Dayton area with WDTN Channel 2 News after the 2019 Memorial Day Tornado outbreak. It was around this time that he began listening to NPR and fell in love with radio-based journalism. Garrett graduated from UD in May of 2021 with his Bachelor’s in Communications with a focus in journalism and graduated in May of 2022 with his Master’s. While not working at WYSO, Garrett is an avid reader, loves to play video games, and hanging out with his friends.