Get the story behind the North Carolina Behavioral Health Equity Initiative and why our work is important.

The North Carolina Behavioral Health Equity Initiative (NCBHEI) supports collaboration between community-based teams and enables them to implement equity-focused strategies that address behavioral health disparities affecting their community or disadvantaged constituent groups.

What is Health Disparity?

Health disparities are health differences that can arise from intentional or unintentional discrimination or marginalization that reinforces social disadvantage.

The NCBHEI Purpose

Achieving health equity within a community requires a comprehensive strategy that addresses the social, economic, and environmental factors and systems that negatively impact the health of individuals. Since 2016, NCBHEI has been championing cooperation among place-based agencies, community members, and organizations in their work to identify the critical behavioral health inequities affecting their community and the development and implementation of plans to address biases.

Why Do Health Disparities Exist?

Historically, health disparities have existed among disadvantaged communities due to systems that unjustly segregated them based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, sexual identity, socio-economic status, and geography. The result has been reduced access to adequate healthcare and barriers to social services, creating devastating effects, including:

  • Elevated levels of mental health disorders
  • A greater instance of substance use
  • Higher rates of suicide
  • Poverty
  • Domestic violence
  • Childhood & historical trauma
  • Involvement in the foster care and criminal justice systems

To date, these and other chronic health issues disproportionately affect individuals, families, and communities that have been subjected to social, economic, and cultural injustice.

Have questions?

We are here to help answer any questions and assist with grant applications.

NCBHEI Takes Aim at What’s Causing Health Inequities Through Collaborative, Locally-Led Projects

For 2022-23, NCBHEI funding is shifting its focus upstream to address the root causes — or social determinants (non-medical factors) — producing health disparities. Our objective is to tackle local problems caused by systemic and structural sources that trigger ongoing imbalances, factors such as the lack of affordable housing, limited educational options, and inadequate access to health services.

By providing resources to support place-based initiatives and advocacy efforts, NCBHEI will make it possible for grantees and their community partners to

  • Prioritize a problem to address, and
  • Learn how to identify, adopt, and ensure the enforcement of a policy or practice that will support equitable, sustainable, and structural change.