Contributed: Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries (FIRM) logo.

published on December 21, 2018 - 1:39 PM
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A Kaiser Permanente Fresno grant for $150,000 has been issued to help improve access to mental health services for the Southeast Asian community in Fresno County.

The grant to Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries (FIRM) aims to help reduce barriers to treatment and increase the capacity to serve the needs of 12,500 Southeast Asians – many of whom are often reluctant to seek treatment because of cultural factors and the stigma associated with mental health issues.

“We know this is a population that may not get the help they need, and we want to make sure they have access to care,” said Wade Nogy, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente Fresno. “We want to create a culture of acceptance and support and encourage our community to talk about mental health issues.”

FIRM plans to work in conjunction with Stone Soup Fresno and Fresno Center for New Americans to support Fresno County’s Hmong, Laotian and Cambodian communities. The three agencies have worked closely with the Asian-American community.

According to a press release from Kaiser Permanente, the grant will allow staff to provide services to first and second generation refugees facing post-traumatic stress disorder, generational trauma and trauma they may have experienced in their journey to the United States. Along with reducing the stigma associated with mental health, the grant will help the residents with non-medical needs by providing case management services, peer support groups and education about mental health and wellness.

Referrals, linkages and navigation assistance will also be provided to make sure residents have access in Fresno County.

“This grant will allow us to increase our outreach to many of the residents we serve and ensure they are getting access to the treatment,” said Zachary Darrah, FIRM’s executive director. “We are so thankful for the support from Kaiser Permanente Fresno because we know it will reach a lot of people who are currently not receiving services.”

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