HCN News & Notes

MiraVista Talent Tapped for Black Youth Mental Health Conference

HOLYOKE — Carl Muldrow, a mental-health technician on MiraVista Behavioral Health Center’s adolescent unit, was among the panelists to share best practices for the delivery of mental healthcare to Black youth as part of the recent Black Youth Mental Health Clinical Case Conference Series at Yale Child Study Center (YCSC) in New Haven, Conn.

“We had a case study and were asked to break it down and to offer insight as to what should have happened as opposed to what did happen,” Muldrow said. “We answered questions from a very engaged audience and discussed the level of dedication this type of case requires.”

Muldrow, who has worked in the field of human services for more than two decades, spoke passionately about his encouragement of young patients during their stay with MiraVista to help them become better educated about their mental health as they meet with their team of providers and to be actively involved in treatment.

“I communicate very compassionately with our patients supporting the work they are doing to improve their self-esteem, validating them while stressing that their voice matters, and it is highly important in their treatment.”

Muldrow said he told the audience — which included healthcare executives, mental-health providers, and medical students — that perception, both for a provider as well as the patient, “can be everything in how a person is treated.”

Muldrow’s participation was on the March 13 panel, the third in the inaugural series of six at YCSC that is part of Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Carmen Black, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale, and Lashuana Cutts, a licensed clinical social worker, were among the other panelists.

The series includes six sessions organized by Dr. Amanda Calhoun, chief resident and chief child psychiatry fellow at YCSC. A narrative account of a clinical case from Calhoun is presented at the start of each session. The panelists then discuss and analyze it in terms of systemic issues within medicine that prejudice how a Black youth may be diagnosed and treated.

She has described the series, which can be attended in person or remotely, as “high-level, nuanced conversations of what it is like to care for Black children” and what advocacy is needed for optimal care.

More questions have been raised in recent years around why suicide rates among Black youths continue to rise, how youth surveys fail to target behavior that might proceed a suicide attempt among this population, how research into this behavior is underfunded, and how comparatively few providers of mental healthcare are Black.

The series examining how the medical system addresses the mental health needs of Black youth is open to the public. The first session attracted about 300 participants in person and remotely. Click here for more information.