Addressing Mental Health Disparities Facing African Americans: Free Online Educational Series from the American Psychiatric Association and the African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence at Morehouse School of Medicine

Washington, D.C., Sept. 2, 2021 – Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in Black youth and, in recent years, rates of suicide for African American adolescents rose faster than those of their white peers. African American communities experience unequal access to high-quality, culturally competent mental health care. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) and Morehouse School of Medicine’s African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (AABH CoE) are offering an on-demand online learning series for mental health professionals designed to bring awareness to and ameliorate these and other disparities.

Striving for Excellence: Addressing Mental Health Disparities Among African Americans Through Patient Care consists of 12 free webinars (originally hosted between July 13 and Sept. 29, 2021) and two self-paced learning modules, all offered at no cost due to the generous support of the Morehouse School of Medicine. Among the topics covered by preeminent experts are:

  • The Psychological Impact of Racism
  • Understanding Female African American Mental Health
  • Challenging Racial Violence in Mental Health Encounters

“As we face a crisis in Black youth mental health, APA is working to remove structural barriers faced by the Black community in receiving quality, culturally informed, mental health treatment,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “This powerful partnership with Morehouse will help us to increase behavioral health systems' capacity to provide outreach, engage, retain and effectively care for Black patients.”

“Our partnership with the APA is helping us expand our reach within a number of critical professional communities,” said AABH CoE Principal Investigator Dawn Tyus, Ph.D., L.P.C. “The challenges that contribute to these health disparities are complex and deeply rooted, and their impact can work against the best efforts and intentions of providers and practitioners. A focused approach that blends a commitment to equity with a commitment to clinical excellence is just what our field and our communities need.”

Striving for Excellence is available on the APA website.

Funding for the Striving for Excellence Series was made possible by Grant No. H79FG000591 from SAMHSA of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by SAMHSA/HHS, or the U.S. Government.

African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence

The AABH CoE is a new national center, a project of Morehouse School of Medicine funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). We are determined to help the behavioral health field transform services for African Americans, making them safer, more effective, more accessible, more inclusive, more welcoming, more engaging, and more culturally appropriate and responsive. For more information, please visit

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,400 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information please visit


To advance the quality and effectiveness of psychiatric care through advocacy, professional education and camaraderie.



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