MHIA Infographic

Q. Why Does MHIAMental Health Impact Assessment Matter?

There are multiple answers to this question:

A. Because every public policy affects
social determinants of mental health, such as...

Violence
Housing
Green Space
Social Connectedness
Clean Air and Water
Density

...and shapes the mental health of our communities.

Every day, local, state and national leaders make public policy decisions.

In each case they evaluate their decision based on factors like these:

Economy
Environment
Physical Health

But, what about mental health?

A. Because we will make better decisions when we evaluate the effect of policy proposals on mental health.

For example: The Adler School conducted an MHIA to investigate how employment discrimination based on criminal records affects residents of Englewood, a Chicago neighborhood with arrest
rates well above the city average. The study indicated that when employers rely on arrest records in hiring, promoting or firing, regardless of a conviction, it can have devastating effects on the mental health of individuals and their community.

The MHIA found a lack of awareness and understanding among Englewood employers about the lawful use of arrest records.

7 out of 10

Englewood employers surveyed
use background checks
that include arrest records.

And, many employers knowingly or unknowingly did not distinguish between "arrests" and "convictions"
in their employment decisions.

When arrest records are used in hiring decisions,
are residents really innocent until proven guilty?

A. Because unemployment affects all aspects of community life in Englewood.

In some parts of the community, the unemployment rate is greater than 20%
Average annual income for Englewood residents is $19,743
The poverty rate is around 46%
It's in the Chicago Police District with the 6th highest number of arrests in Chicago

A. Because when social determinants improve,
mental health improves.

The MHIA predicts: Updates to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) policy that prohibits employers from using arrest records in the hiring process could improve four social determinants of mental health. These are conditions that play a role in shaping the mental health outcomes of an individual or a community.

These changes will likely lead to

Improved Mental Health

Individual
Mental Health

The MHIA predicts a decrease in residents' severity of depression and psychological distress...

Community
Mental Health

...and an increased sense of community in Englewood.

So, why does MHIA matter?

A. Because the mental health
of our communities matters.

Phography: Adler School of Professional Psychology, Bigstock,
Charlie Simokaitis, istockphoto, PunchStock, stock.xchng, Wikipedia