Listen to Senator Hughes interview with Roland Martin above.
Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes is known by Philadelphians as a hands-on legislator with an active community agenda. As part of that agenda, the West Philadelphia native has been a major part of raising awareness for HIV/AIDS along with his wife, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph and for sponsoring events that deal with finances and assistance for the elderly.
Hughes is also very passionate about mental health. This year, he will hold his fifth mental health symposium, ‘Breaking The Silence’ at Temple University’s medical school on April 4th and 5th. Here’s why Hughes feels that mental health is particularly important in the African-American community.
Blackamericaweb.com: What made you want to hold this event in the first place?
Sen. Hughes: It’s about people getting access to resources and services and also feel comfortable about talking about issues with respect to their own mental health. There is a lot of suffering going on – a lot of suffering. The only thing that is making it better it that through the Affordable Care Act the insurance and the services are now opening up to folks that hadn’t been available to them beforehand. But with the economic pressures and everything that’s going on, we need to make sure that there’s a space for folks to have a comfortable conversation and get directed to resources to helping them deal with their issues.
What do you think the major obstacles are for African-Americans seeking mental health care?