SCOTUS affirmative action decision will further squeeze the mental health provider pipeline

MHA Admin

Thu, 07/13/2023 – 12:40

by Pierluigi Mancini, Ph.D.

The Supreme Court of the United States’ (SCOTUS) decision on affirmative action has the potential to influence various aspects of society, including access to mental health providers for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities. Individuals in these communities often face significant barriers to mental health care that have led to and compounded disparities, including socioeconomic status, language barriers, cultural stigmatization, and systemic biases. Affirmative action policies have been instrumental in promoting diversity in various professions, including mental health services. A reduction in diversity among mental health providers could reinforce disparities, as it would limit the availability of providers who understand and can address the unique needs and experiences of these communities.

Affirmative action has played a significant role in increasing the representation of BIPOC individuals in counseling, psychology, and psychiatry programs. This includes outreach and recruitment, scholarships and financial support, admissions, mentorship and support, and increasing the number of diverse staff. These policies were created to address historical disadvantages and systemic barriers underrepresented communities face. By fostering a diverse pool of mental health providers, these policies can ensure culturally competent care, better patient outcomes, and improved access for BIPOC populations.

Further, this decision may affect the overall pipeline of mental health professionals, and especially from underrepresented communities. The United States does not have nearly enough mental health professionals to treat everyone who is suffering. Already, more than 150 million people live in federally designated mental health professional shortage areas. Within a few years, experts say the country will be short between 14,280 and 31,109 psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers, and others will be overextended.

Strategies to mitigate the potential adverse effects on access to mental health providers include:

Strengthening outreach and recruitment efforts to encourage individuals from underrepresented communities to pursue counseling, psychology, and psychiatry programs.
Helping universities, especially Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions to raise funds from foundations and the public and the private sector to ensure that there will be enough graduates that are culturally and linguistically prepared for the mental health field.
Expanding scholarships, grants, and mentorship programs to support BIPOC students pursuing mental health professions.
Investing in cultural and linguistically responsive training for mental health providers to ensure they can effectively address the needs of diverse populations.
Promoting diversity and inclusion within mental health organizations and institutions through the implementation of inclusive hiring practices and supportive work environments.

The SCOTUS decision on affirmative action has the potential to disrupt the progress made in meeting the need and diversifying the mental health workforce and addressing disparities. It is crucial to implement strategies that mitigate the impact of this decision and promote equal access to mental health providers for all individuals, regardless of their background or identity.

Pierluigi Mancini, Ph.D., is a Mental Health America Board member and the President of the Multicultural Development Institute, Inc.


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Heckman, S. J. (2019). The affirmative action legacy. Indiana Law Journal, 95(2), 591-616.
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The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will house a “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center, that will provide case management, mental health community advocacy, and oversight from the M.I. Mother’s Keeper mental health advocates. 
The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will offer patrons access to immediate coverage by general surgeons as well as coverage by the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care.
Our goal is to help people in the best way possible in an effort to preserve and to save more lives in the Nation’s Capital and beyond.

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Code Red
Gunshot Victim
Life Threatening Wounds
Physical Assault Victim
Severely Injured Auto Accident Victim
Burn Victim
Choking & Breathing Obstructions
and more…


Child Sex Assault Victim
Domestic Violence Victim
Drug Overdose
Rape/Sex Crime Victim
Suicide Watch
Trafficking Victim
Nervous Breakdown
and more…

Mental Health

At Capital City Emergency Trauma & Wellness Center patrons with mental health emergencies that include life threatening situations in which an individual is imminently threatening harm to self or others, severely disoriented or out of touch with reality, has a severe inability to function or is otherwise distraught and out of control, will have access to quality and psychiatric emergency services and referrals.

Physical Health

Whether your life threatening medical emergency involves excessive or uncontrollable bleeding, head injury. difficulty with breathing, severe pain, heart attack, vision impairments, stroke, physically collapsing, or seizure related, rest assured that our professionals will properly assess and evaluate the level of response that will be most needed to help provide stabilized care solutions and minimize complications as well as reduce early mortality.

Holistic Healthcare

We offer healthcare solutions that will support the whole person which includes their physical, psychological, emotional, social, & spiritual wellbeing. Research supports that because your mental state can affect your overall health we support and offer the inclusion of complimentary and alternative medicine(CAM) practitioners and naturopathic doctor recommendations and referrals as a part of our Outreach Community Resource Center’s care regimen and support.


Emergency care can typically result in traumatic injuries for which rehabilitation becomes an essential component of care in trying to achieve the best long-term outcomes for the patient. In addition to speeding up recovery times and helping to prevent further complications, rehabilitative care also helps to support a patient’s self-managed recovery once discharged from our facility. Our Outreach Community Resource Center works closely with our trauma center’s discharge department to assure that patrons requiring these services are linked with qualified professionals who will be accountable to the standard of care required to help the patron be successful in their recovery.

Social Services

Our “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center intends to promote “expansive” beneficial community enriching services, programs, case management, & linkage to “approved” partner resources and supports in all of the following intended areas and more:

Social Services

  • Clothing
  • Food Pantry
  • Housing/Shelter
  • I.D. Credentials
  • Senior Wellness Check
  • Toiletries
  • Transportation
  • Etc.

Extended Family Services

  • Child Care
  • Credit Counseling
  • Family Court Services
  • Legal Aide

Career Training

  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Computer/Graphics Training
  • Culinary Program  
  • GED Courses
  • Hospitality Training
  • Job Etiquette & Grooming
  • Resume’ Prep
  • Sales Training
  • Software/Technology workshops
  • Small Business Training

Return Citizen
Program Partner
(Bridging the Gap)

  • Case Management
  • Temporary Boarding/Housing
  • Transitional Program Registration

Prevention/Intervention Outreach,
Workshops, & Programs

  • After-school Behavioral Health Program
  • Civic Engagement / Volunteer Sign-up
  • Fatherhood Rites of Passage
  • Gun Violence Town Hall Forum
  • Life Coaching & Coping Strategies
  • Marriage Counseling Workshops
  • Medicare Informational Workshops
  • Mentorship Training
  • Parental Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Town Hall Discussions
  • Violence De-Escalation Training
  • Voter Registration

Nutritional Outreach

  • Cooking Demonstrations
  • Dietary Programs
  • Exercise Classes
  • Recipe Sharing Workshops
  • Meal Prep

Community Outreach

The Healthy DC & Me Leadership Coalition is partnering with the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health advocacy organization to provide outreach services on the community level as an aid in reducing the existent health inequities that many District citizens are facing as a direct result of the presence of debilitating social determinants and the lack of culturally appropriate care choices and realities for community members residing in marginalized and lower-income communities.

It is the vision and intentions of the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health Advocates organization to help improve the quality of living for citizens living in our Nation’s Capital and beyond by overseeing the delicate linkage to services and by maintaining higher standards of care accountability for deserving citizens of the Nation’s Capital.

For more information or to enroll as one of our service providers, please email us at: