“HeadStart” on Developmental Health in Youth; from Low Income Families
EMMANUEL REID and JESUS ARAUJO
EL NUEVO SOL—SALUD
According the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, developmental health issues are more prevalent among minority children that live at, or below, the poverty line.
Historically, mental health research in America was established and normalized on a Caucasian and European based population, excluding the importance of understanding racial & ethnic groups, as well as their beliefs, traditions, and values. Results of such exclusion have a massive impact on Americans of different cultural makeup.
Organizations with an ethnic and cultural conscience are combating the institutionalized disadvantages of minorities. The Office of Minority Health (OMH), is an organization whose main objective is “to improve health and healthcare outcomes for racial and ethnic minority communities by developing or advancing polices, programs, and practices that address health, social, economic, environmental and other factors which impact health.”
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Acknowledging that there are developmental health issues facing children from low-income families, is a step in the right direction. A program in place that is proven to make a positive impact is the National Head Start Association or NHSA. With a mission statement that strives to achieve such feats as helping to create “healthier, empowered children and families as well as more vibrant communities”, NHSA will help combat early health indicators in all enrolled youth.
NHSA has resources offering guidance on how to design and manage mental health services, as well as coordinate services with community mental health agencies. Parents with children enrolled in the “Head Start” program can take advantage of services like Early Mental Health Consultation and Social and Emotional Development workshops. Screening and assessment is available for children who may be demonstrating high-risk behaviors. The nation-wide organization has locations spread throughout the San Fernando Valley.