LONG BEACH – The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) has announced a request for qualifications for Black-serving mental health organizations to provide culturally affirming mental health services. Eligible organizations are encouraged to apply through the City of Long Beach’s Vendor Portal, PlanetBids, by 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 14.
Adverse emotional and mental health outcomes among many Black residents can be attributed to historical experiences of racism, trauma and inequities. National trends reveal that often, Black residents do not receive necessary treatments or support when struggling with serious mental illnesses.
The constant anxiety of potential COVID-19 infection, compounded with the intergenerational trauma of historic and structural racism, has impacted the mental health of the Black community through increased levels of chronic stress and anxiety. COVID-19 also has brought attention to the high demand for culturally affirming mental health services in the Black community.
In January, the City issued a request for qualifications to partner with licensed and certified mental health providers who would connect uninsured or underinsured Black Long Beach residents experiencing mental health concerns to quality behavioral health services. The providers must demonstrate capacity and expertise in working with the Black community and will be required to outreach to the priority population.
Each interested agency or clinician must meet the following criteria:
- Provide culturally affirming services that demonstrate an understanding of the Black experience and the various sub-communities that make up the Long Beach Black community including, but not limited, to youth, LGBTQ+ people, veterans, older adults, people experiencing homelessness and people with disabilities.
- Offer specialized treatment for those experiencing anxiety, stress, depression, bi-polar disorder, personality disorder, domestic violence, PTSD, trauma or substance abuse.
- Provide a series of 60-minute psychotherapy sessions (including initial assessment) per client.
- Ensure linkage to Unite Us platform, a City-wide online resource and referral platform.
This request for qualifications is a continuation of the work Black Health Equity (BHE) began under the CARES Act. With support from the City’s Health Department and CARES Act funding, BHE has been able to contract three Black-serving mental health providers since November 2020 to provide psychotherapy treatment to under- and uninsured Black residents in Long Beach. As of September 2021, 231 residents have been served and more than 1,078 sessions were provided. Given the tremendous response to Black mental health services, additional certified and licensed qualified providers are needed to meet the increasing demand for mental and emotional support in the Black Long Beach community.
This program continuation is made possible by Long Beach Recovery Act, a plan to fund economic and public health initiatives for Long Beach residents, workers and businesses critically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of that funding, more than $112 million has been earmarked to support Healthy and Safe Communities, which includes prioritizing the mental health and wellbeing of residents adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional information about the Long Beach Recovery Act is available at longbeach.gov/recovery.
The Health Department continues to develop strategies to support communities affected by mental health as well as the COVID-19 pandemic and will release additional RFPs funded by LBRA to further these efforts.