Monday, July 24, 2017

Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Stigma towards mental health and receiving mental healthcare exists within many Asian American communities.To say that Asian Americans do not experience mental health concerns is a myth; it is, in fact, an extension of the Model Minority Myth, or the false stereotype that lumps all Asian Americans together as being wealthy, highly educated, well-adjusted to the US, and healthy—including mentally healthy.

According to Mental Health America, about 5.4% of the US population identifies as Asian American or Pacific Islander and about 13% of those individuals have a diagnosable mental disorder—that equates to about 2.2 million people. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death for Asian Americans, but the second leading cause of death among Asian Americans between 15 and 24 and the third leading cause of death among 25-34 year-olds. When you look closely at research, you find more information: on depression, anxiety, intimate partner violence—all mental health issues that exist within and affect the Asian American community.

Despite these data, barriers to seeking and receiving mental health care exist. Relative to other US populations, Asian Americans are three times less likely to see a mental health provider. Even if Asian Americans do access mental health care, they are more likely to stop receiving care early in the treatment process. The struggles of dealing with stigma towards mental health also affect local Asian Americans living in Montgomery County, Maryland. A study done with Asian American young adults in Montgomery County identified six main barriers to seeking mental health care, one of which was stigma and negative perceptions of those seeking counseling.

As part of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, if you find that you or a loved one needs additional help, the Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI), a part of Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services, encourages you to contact your primary care doctor. You may also contact Montgomery County Access to Behavioral Health Services at 240-777-1770, which offers free mental health screenings and referrals both over the phone and in person. If you are a Montgomery County resident, low income, uninsured, and need primary care, you can contact Montgomery Cares Clinics through MC311 by dialing 240-777-0311.



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

National HIV Testing Day

Today, in honor of National HIV Testing Day, AAHI encourages you to get tested for HIV. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS.

The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. Many people with HIV don’t have any symptoms. In the United States, 1 in 8 people living with HIV don't know they have it.

Even if you do not feel sick, getting early treatment for HIV is important. Early treatment can help you live a longer, healthier life. Treatment can also make it less likely that you will pass HIV on to other people.

Am I at risk for HIV? 
HIV is spread through some of the body’s fluids, like blood, semen (cum), vaginal fluids, and breast milk. HIV is passed from one person to another by:

• Having sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) without a condom or dental dam with a person who has HIV
• Sharing needles with someone who has HIV
• Breastfeeding, pregnancy, or childbirth if the mother has HIV
• Getting a transfusion of blood that’s infected with HIV (very rare in the United States)

Under the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010, insurance plans must cover HIV testing. Talk to your insurance company to learn more.

Free HIV testing is also available:
Montgomery County STD/HIV Testing Program
Locations: 2000 Dennis Avenue, Silver Spring
Upcounty Regional Services Center, Germantown
Call to make an appointment
240-777-1760
The program provides testing and treatment for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) for Montgomery County residents only. Free, anonymous and confidential HIV testing is open to all and includes pre-test counseling and post-test counseling. For more information, please click here.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Health Coverage



In the United States, an estimated 12.7 million people signed up for coverage in the 2016 Open Enrollment, allowing them to gain or renew access to the health coverage they need. Enrolling in a health plan, however, is only the initial step. To help you go from coverage to care, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has created resources in multiple languages, available at no cost, to help you understand your benefits and connect to a primary care provider and preventive services.

Here are five ways to make the most of your health coverage:


  1. Confirm your coverage: Be sure your enrollment is complete. Contact your health plan and/or state Medicaid office. Pay your premium if you have one, so you can use your health coverage when you need it.
  2. Know where to go for answers: Contact your health plan to see what services are covered, and what your costs will be. Read the Roadmap to Better Care and a Healthier You to learn about key health insurance terms, like coinsurance and deductible.
  3. Find a provider: Select a health care provider in your network who will work with you to get your recommended health screenings. Remember you might pay more if you see a provider who is out-of-network.
  4. Make an appointment: Confirm your provider accepts your coverage. Talk to your provider about preventive services. Ask questions about your concerns and what you can do to stay healthy.
  5. Fill your prescriptions: Some drugs cost more than others. Ask in advance how much your prescription costs and if there is a more affordable option.

Share these tips with your family and friends so they too can make the most of their health
coverage and live a long healthy life. Also, check out the Roadmap to Better Care and a Healthier You for a step-by-step guide on how to use your coverage and more detailed health insurance information.

For more information about From Coverage to Care, visit http://go.cms.gov/c2c.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Recap: ECHO Workshop #13 "Aging in Montgomery County: Building a Safer Community Together"

On May 16th, AAHI, in partnership with the African American Health Program, the Latino Health Initiative, and the Community Action Agency, hosted our 13th Empowering Community Health Organizations (ECHO) Workshop! This workshop, "Aging in Montgomery County: Building a Safer Community Together", is the second of our three part series focusing on the needs, impacts, and opportunities of an aging community. The last part of this series will follow in the fall of 2017.

Our ECHO Project is a series of professional and practical training workshops designed to build the capacity and sustainability of community organizations.

Prior to the workshop, attendees were able to visit our resource for information on services and programs available for residents related to the safety of older people.




The workshop was conducted in a panel discussion format and representatives from the Montgomery Department of Health and Human Services Aging and Disability Services, the Police Department, the Department of Fire and Rescue Services, the State's Attorney's Office, and the Long Term Care Ombudsman were invited to talk about the importance of elder safety and ways and resources available to the community on elder abuse prevention.




Over 100 attendees, representing 47 organizations, came to the workshop. Thank you to our wonderful panelists, Steering Committee, and staff for making this a successful event. We look forward to seeing you again in our fall 2017 ECHO Workshop!

Please click here to read the Workshop Summary (4MB) where yo will find electronic version of the handouts from the workshop.

Please click on the image below to see more photos from the night!



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Recap: AAHI Outreach Activities

Spring time is one of AAHI's busiest outreach seasons! During the past couple of weeks, AAHI participated in 8 different outreach activities and there are many more to come!

On April 14, AAHI hosted our Resource Information Table at the Bait-Ur-Rehman Mosque. We distributed general health information and education on different health topics such as cancer and mental health. We also introduced community members to different programs and services available in Montgomery County.

Click here to see more photos!

Over the weekend of April 15 and 16, we attended the Cambodian New Year Festival, the Sri Lankan New Year Festival, and the Wat Thai New Year Festival. As part of the New Year celebrations, there were many cultural activities and festive foods available. We distributed general health information and local resources available at our Resource Information Table. Our Health Promoters provided outreach and education on several health topics, including breast cancer, hepatitis B, osteoporosis, local resources, diabetes, and patient-physician communication. We would like to thank the Cambodian Buddhist Society, the Maryland Buddhist Viharaya, and the Wat Thai Washington, D.C. for having us!

Click on the photos below to see more photos from the events!
     


Have you heard about Friends' Corner? Friends' Corner is one of AAHI's newest projects focusing on the health and wellness of older adults in the Asian American community. Unlike a regular workshop, Friends' Corner provides a welcoming place for older adults to gather informally and learn about health related topics and resources in a relaxing environment. We hope through this project, older adults will have the opportunity to mingle and build bonds with others in the community.

Click on the photos below to see photos from Friends' Corner!



Check back on our blog soon for other updates!