WebMD shares: Gail Mattox, MD, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, has been working for more than 30 years as a psychiatrist.

She has gotten grant funding to take a deeper look into behavioral health in a university setting, particularly at historical black universities like Morehouse.

Kisha Holden, PhD, is a psychologist who worked with Mattox to address health disparities and health issues that may be problems in various communities.

“We both believe that the mental health of the African American community is important,” Holden says. “We try to look at our students from a holistic and comprehensive perspective.”

Because primary care doctors may not recognize or know how to diagnose mental health issues, Holden says it’s important to get beyond the initial clinical setting.

They look to find out what is happening to the whole self, “and not exclusively at what their presenting problem may be at a medical facility.”

“We want to look deeper into the issues that contribute to or prompt some of the health problems they see. We’re pulling the Band-Aid back and looking at what may be some of the underlying problems,” she says.

Getting out of the clinical setting is key, Holden says. It’s difficult enough to get people to voluntarily come in for an appointment.

“Try and meet the patient or potential patient where they are,” she says. “Go into the community and have trust. Have stakeholders important in that community, and respecting them is certainly a part of how we build the trust and subsequently connect them to care.”

“We would go out to the community church and school and be part of the community to be aware of the signs and symptoms of psychological illness and the importance of overall health.” Read more via WebMD.