Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Many people face multiple social issues. Systemic racism, poverty, discrimination related to a disability, sexism, and homophobia are just some of the issues that cause trauma for individuals and communities. This trauma creates a need for increased behavioral health resources, such as substance abuse and mental health services. Unfortunately, these issues also make it harder to access quality care. At Seven Counties Services, we believe all people deserve access to behavioral healthcare no matter what barriers they face.
While the term equality means to give all people the same resources, equity acknowledges that we all start in different places and that some need even more resources, ease of access, and opportunities if they have more barriers to break through. Real equality can only happen if we solve the imbalances first through practicing equity. Part of practicing equity is valuing diversity and inclusion. Diversity occurs when people from various races, ethnicities, genders, sexualities, economic classes, and abilities are embraced. Inclusion is meeting on equal footing, appreciating one another’s differences, and valuing multiple perspectives. Inclusion creates an innovative and vibrant environment where people feel respected, valued, and affirmed without needing to change or hide parts of their cultural identity.
Health Disparities & Health Equity
Health disparities occur when groups with social disadvantages, such as systemic racism and poverty, have limited, or no access to quality healthcare, and therefore, have disproportionately poorer health outcomes. Factors can include marginalization based on race, gender, and class but also daily disadvantages such as lack of medical insurance, limited transportation, language barriers, and stigma. Health equity, or the ability for all people to access quality healthcare and improve their health outcomes, is achieved through improving access.
Racial Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Task Force
At Seven Counties Services / Bellewood & Brooklawn all employees have access to employee resource groups. Our Racial Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, or REDI, was formed by staff in 2020 in reaction to the glaring racial injustices committed against Black, Indigenous and other People of Color in Kentucky, and across the United States. REDI’s mission is to advocate for positive change for BIPOC clients and staff. In their own words, “At Seven Counties Services / Bellewood & Brooklawn, diversity and inclusion are part of our DNA. Together we continue to build an inclusive culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates the diverse voices of our employees. If fuels our innovation and connects us to our clients and the communities, we serve.”
Our Pride Workgroup is for all 1LGBTQIA2+ employees, as well as other individuals who actively support their rights. The Pride Workgroup was designed to advocate, educate, increase visibility, and to provide an environment of belonging for staff and for our clients.
Partnering with community is an important aspect of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Community includes other organizations, faith leaders, political leaders, activists, advocates, and many others; especially, those we serve. Equity can only be done with community and cannot be achieved alone. Initiatives, such as our annual event, “Winners for Wellness: A Black, Indigenous & People of Color Mental Health Summit” is an example of building equity with community. This event, which takes place in July during BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month is planned in collaboration with community for the purpose of sharing resources, highlighting community strengths, building strong relationships, furthering education, and replacing stigma with openness and even joy!
Our external partners are organizations and individuals who value equity work and are striving to end the barriers and imbalances marginalized people face.
1 Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, two-spirit and other non-heterosexual or cisgender identities.