Cultural Humility and Black Mental Health

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Episode 5 -The COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests sweeping across the United States have especially affected black and Hispanic populations, adding emotional trauma to individuals and families.

Dr. Kerry-Ann Williams, a psychiatrist who is the medical director for the children’s residential programs operated by Justice Resource Institute (JRI), was interviewed on “Justice In Action,” a podcast series by JRI. She often works with children who have been traumatized by physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

She says that clients of color can be resistant to help because they are mistrustful of medical professionals due to a long history of unequal treatment. Black Americans in the last century sometimes were the victims of medical experiments and denied treatment for illness as part of medical studies.

Williams also hosts a Sunday morning radio show, “Black Mental Health Matter,” on 98.1, The Urban Heat, in Boston. She takes calls and interviews experts to provide information and counsel for people needing help. Topics include depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder and other issues of special significance to black people and people of color.

Williams, who was born in Jamaica and moved to Texas as a college freshman at Baylor University, discusses systemic racism, cultural literacy and making the medical profession more responsive to the needs of people of color.


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Rachel has been a part of the JRI team since January, 2000. For over 20 years, Rachel has been working in the field of human services assisting families with accessing and navigating services. Rachel received her Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. She was promoted in July 2005 to Family Networks Program Director where she closely worked with the Department of Children Families for 10 years ensuring that children and families received the highest quality of individualized services ranging from community based through residential care. Rachel is very dedicated to helping the individuals she works with and is committed to improving the lives of children and families. Rachel’s passion for creative service programming inspires her in her role as JRI Service Navigator.