The Mental Health Center of Denver is committed to ending the discrimination and anti-Black racism that runs throughout our society. Over the past year, we formed organizational workgroups to respond to the anti-Black racism crisis and are committed to leading further change.
We are currently working toward the following priorities:
- Strengthening our recruitment and retention efforts of Black clinicians.
- Enhancing our vendor relationships with Black- and minority-owned businesses.
- Hosting and engaging in community forums with the Black community.
- Supporting Black-owned organizations advancing social justice.
- Expanding and deepening partnerships with organizations focused on the health of the Black community.
- Advocating for legislation and policies that advance equity.
Current Efforts & Accomplishments in Ending Anti-Black Racism
- Assessing our job interview and selection processes to reduce bias.
- Working with Metro State University (the most diverse university in the Denver area) to offer training and recruitment opportunities for students.
- Partnering with professional organizations, such as the National Association of Black Social Workers, to recruit new hires.
- Supporting other organizations that work to end anti-Black racism through financial sponsorships.
- Training staff on advocacy work and topics related to diversity, equity and inclusiveness.
- Encouraging voter registration among staff and people we serve.
- Engaging our newly formed public policy team.
- Expanding the way we collect demographic data in our electronic health record, including adding race categories from which individuals can self-identify.
- Improving data collection in our electronic health record to identify any discrepancies in our care.
- Training staff on 911 dispatch best practices to guide appropriate use of police, and ensuring police are trauma-informed when they do need to be called.
- Earning a top employer designation from DiversityJobs.com for the second year, as a result of our consistency around diverse recruitment efforts.
- Listening to and engaging with the Black community to inform our initiatives, including understanding where we are currently present and where we need to show up more strongly.
We know our work is far from over – it’s an ongoing effort. So, our next priorities will increase our capacity to continue this work in our community.
- Conduct surveys on health in the Black community, and compensate participants for their time.
- Receive consultation from community leaders to train our staff on anti-Black racism.
- Develop a new risk assessment scale that includes anti-Black racism as an indicator. A risk assessment like this does not currently exist.
- Expand paid internships.
- Strengthen nationwide recruitment at schools outside of the Denver-Metro area.
- Host focus groups to get feedback on our new tools, such as our telehealth app, and compensate participants for their time.
- Integrate decision-making support into our electronic health record, such as pop-up messages that provide information and treatment recommendations based on average demographic trends.
- Create a process where a person we serve can request specific attributes in a therapist they would like to see (e.g., a Black therapist, female therapist, therapist who understands a specific religion, etc.).