African descendant communities tend to rely on family, religious and social communities for emotional support, rather than turning to health care professionals, even though this may be necessary. Culture biases against mental health professionals and health care professionals in general prevent many African Americans from accessing care due to prior experiences with historical misdiagnoses, inadequate treatment, and a lack of cultural understanding.
The African Coalition is providing mental health services that is culturally specific practice that can be broadly applied to all ethnic groups at community-level, but that has special appeal for individuals of African descent who in many cases have been failed by more generic interventions that do not take into account an individual’s heritage. The services included but not limited to: assessment, client care/treatment plan development, monitoring and review, medication support, crisis intervention, individual/group therapy/counseling, referrals and linkage. Mental health services may also include collateral support and team conferences/case consultation; to help individuals manage the symptoms of their mental illness and to assist them to achieve their wellness and recovery goals.
The African Coalition provides culturally appropriate immigration services to hard-to-reach and undeserved African-born and Caribbean migrant populations in Southern California. The Coalition is operating a CDSS funded immigration outreach and Education program and conducting grass-roots, hands-on outreach and education services with assistance from the African and Caribbean community leaders. We provide Afrocentric, linguistically and culturally relevant services in every aspect of our work. Since 2016, the Coalition has maximized its instrumental role in advocating on behalf of the African-born U.S. immigrants in Southern California.
The Coalition works with culture-based centers (mosques, churches, schools, African-owned businesses/retail shops/restaurants/community centers) that assemble, employ, and provide services to African-born immigrants.
Provided legal Services are included but not limited to: Assistance-Naturalization, Consultation, Other Immigration Remedies, Asylum, Green card renewal, DACA renewal, and Removal Defense. Our Services has been developed through the assistance of pro bono and staff attorney providing services free of charge to the individuals who cannot afford an attorney.
We are among the few organizations in Southern California that cater to special populations, such as refugees, asylum seekers, undocumented individuals, and human trafficked African-descent immigrants. Our populations thus represent the full spectrum of the African Diaspora: Ethiopian, Eritrean, Sierra Leonine, Ghanaian, Nigerian, Guinean, Liberian, Cameroonian, Sudanese, Somalian, Kenyaian, Ugandan, and those of Caribbean descent.
Under this system most professional staff are given case management responsibility, to ensure that there would be central accountability for each community member. The case manger’s responsibilities include:
- Acting as the main contact person for community members, monitoring treatment Problem-solving (such as crisis interventions, dealing with different public agencies)
- Documentation of treatment activities in the record Coordinating services and treatment with the various disciplines Liaison with any network partners involved in the community members’ basic needs.
- Consultation with community and family regarding the person.
Outreach is a process aimed at informing current or potential clients in the black immigrants’ community. Engagement is a process by which the Coalition develops a trusting relationship with current or potential clients who are in need of mental health services, along with either physical health or substance abuse services. Current or potential clients should view the Coalition as being of service to them and are willing to receive the organization services.
The Coalition developed a culturally and linguistically competent curriculum and conduct Health Education activities to increase awareness and decrease stigma about mental health, physical health and substance abuse in ways that are culturally congruent to the black immigrant community. The program assists communities beyond the core mental health services. The workshop is designed to address problem community faces in obtaining access to important public services and assistance. These include: Medical help, homelessness/housing. Securing employment, immigration and other legal advice, sever poverty/debt various forms of registration (e.g. social security, driver’s license), training (language/vocational), child care parenting skills, and social integration
The impact of selected assessed based training and education project reduce stigma and promote safety, health and well-being in the African descent communities as exhibited the ACPHC data collection.
The African Coalition focuses on Afro-centric, culturally competent leadership development and advocacy, to find new solutions to prevent and reduce persistent health disparities and improve health outcomes of the African immigrants by building social belonging, cohesion and trust Since most attitudinal and behavioral change occur in the context of relationships. The practice works because it uses “trusted” members of a community to educate other community members. African Coalition develops Inter-generational Understanding and Support, provides services that build among individuals, families, and their communities an image of the service organization as caring, understanding of individuals and communities’ situation and needs, non-officious, trustworthy, and concerned with the whole human being and families.
The goal is to directly tackle the weakness in community capacity by building a highly competent community leaders/advocates in many of the dimensions of the national battle against mental health issue including the strengthening of institutional performance, the competence of service delivery to African immigrants and the analysis and planning of key interventions.
Our Keeping Our Lungs Safe (KOLS) program is a collaborative project funded by the California Department of Public Health: California Tobacco Control Project (CTCP) working to eliminate health disparities related to tobacco and tobacco smoke in Los Angeles County. We primarily serve the cities of Inglewood, Gardena, Hawthorne, Carson, Compton, Lancaster, and Palmdale. KOLS is working to enhance the quality of life in these areas by:
- Educating community members about the social injustice surrounding tobacco, especially in African-American communities
- Training youth/young adults to be advocates for their peers in the wake of the vaping epidemic
- Promoting smoke-free apartments, condominiums, churches, masjids, and other places of worship
- Providing support and resources for those trying to quit smoking