At Camber Children’s Mental Health, we are dedicated to enhancing the lives of children and families through behavioral healthcare services that foster connection and nurture health and wellness. We firmly believe that culturally competent care is the key to furthering our mission! In order to enrich and enhance the lives of the children and families we serve; culturally competent care is crucial. By meeting people where they are and providing healthy representation, we can foster deeper connections and improve outcomes.
As we celebrate Black History Month, let’s explore the importance of culturally competent care. We will also highlight how we’re creating an inclusive environment internally and through services delivered at Camber.
Bridging Gaps: Why Cultural Competence Matters
Culturally competent care is about understanding individuals on a personal level. It is essential for effective treatment and creating meaningful interactions between caregivers and those receiving treatment. This holds particularly true in the field of mental health, where efforts to dispel stigma and challenge cultural norms surrounding treatment are actively underway.
Culturally competent care is not merely a concept but a crucial practice in mental health. This approach is vital for addressing diverse cultural perspectives. It also ensures that every individual receives the tailored and sensitive care they need and deserve.
Our upbringing and the values instilled in us play a pivotal role in shaping our perception of mental health. These factors influence our openness to receiving support and determine how we embrace the potentially life-changing impact of that help. By recognizing and respecting an individual’s beliefs and experiences, we create the foundation for meaningful interventions. This helps uplift unique perspectives and contribute to positive outcomes throughout their treatment and mental health journey. When we ground our services in shared understandings of one another, and in the power of human connection, it builds bridges that lead to transformative results.
Improving Health Outcomes Through Cultural Understanding
One key to culturally competent care lies in who delivers the services: a team that reflects the diversity of the children and families we serve, fostering natural connections. This representation enhances the likelihood of individuals and families willingly embracing the help offered. This leads to actively participating in treatment because they feel more understood and able to connect with their care support.
“Unlike treating a cold or a broken bone,” Director of Human Resources Pete Barndollar explains, “mental health support involves ongoing relationships that may span months or even years. For families and children dealing with complex situations, having someone culturally competent fosters a sense of comfort and trust, enabling meaningful engagement and sharing throughout the extended and often intricate journey of mental health support.”
Embracing a culturally informed approach enables us to more deeply understand the entire individual, seeing and empathizing with the inherent details that shape them. Approaching mental health concerns with an open mind and heart, for instance, allows us to see beyond stereotypes and provide treatment that aligns with the values and day-to-day life of each unique person and their family.
Nurturing a Culture of Inclusivity at Camber
At Camber, we prioritize Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB). To continuously improve our approach, we’ve established a dedicated DEIB council to address the unique needs of our various sites. While it is still relatively new, the DEIB council aims to assess practices at both micro and macro levels, seeking ways to enhance inclusivity and diversity across operational practices through feedback and continuous learning.
Many DEIB initiatives revolve around raising awareness of our efforts and encouraging participation from anyone outside of the council. Our goal is to communicate the value of individual voices and their role in shaping our services and organizational culture.
In addition to our internal DEIB council, Camber is a proud part of the system-wide KVC Health Systems DEIB council that focuses on facilitating larger systemic change. We demonstrate our commitment to tangible outcomes through initiatives and changes. One example is encouraging employees to use their preferred names and pronouns and developing a guide for textured hair care. One current focus is crafting comprehensive DEIB education resources for all employees to foster a more inclusive and informed workplace.
How We Embrace Diversity in Our Care Services
Incorporating diversity and inclusion into how we manage treatment teams and deliver services to children and families is a high priority here at Camber.
Vice President of Administration Sara Schlagel says, “When we think about honoring diversity, promoting equity and facilitating inclusion in the work we do, we always strive to celebrate differences, honor others and promote the inherent worth of individuals.”
We strive to utilize celebrations of diversity and inclusion during special seasons like Hispanic Heritage Month and Pride Month to create awareness and provide education. As we celebrate Black History Month throughout February, each site is spearheading different initiatives. These include book swaps featuring works by black authors, activities centered around cultural cuisine, posters highlighting influential black leaders, and many other community events, therapeutic groups and psychosocial activities with children and families designed to commemorate the month.
“We want to ensure diversity and inclusion is not a fleeting effort confined to a single month; it’s a continuous commitment,” Barndollar shares. “The goal is to get in the mindset of prioritizing awareness year-round. This way, openness and inclusivity become part of our norm and we create an environment where every individual feels valued, respected and acknowledged throughout the entire year.”
We reinforce our commitment to diversity and inclusion through regular internal committee meetings, participation in nationwide initiatives and dissemination of information through newsletters and blogs. Ongoing education and awareness help highlight how different backgrounds can enrich our culture, experiences and interactions with those we work with. This continues to help build an accepting and respectful culture year-round.
Culturally Competent Care: A Shared Path Forward
Everyone deserves the right to receive quality mental health support. At Camber, we aim to cultivate an environment where employees, clients and visitors feel seen, heard and valued. “The goal is to be inherently inclusive of others, no matter their race or socioeconomic status,” says Schlagel. “We are always pushing ourselves to get uncomfortable so we can do better. It’s extremely important not just for the client care that we provide, but for the employee experience.”
At Camber, we offer a wide variety of culturally competent services. This includes inpatient and residential treatment. Learn more about these services and how we can help.
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