ABS focus on the black community

 black america dep1By Joe Smydo / Pittsburgh  Post-Gazette

A psychologist whose campaign against baggy pants made waves in Boston says  he wants to help a newly licensed East Liberty clinic fill a gap in the  mental-health treatment system.

Although he still lives in Massachusetts, Omar G. Reid helped found the  Adaptive Behavioral Services clinic at 6031 Broad St. in East Liberty. He’s also  the organization’s chief clinical officer.

The clinic opened in July 2012 under the auspices of licensed caregivers.  Now, it has its own license from the state Department of Public Welfare,  according to Kevin Jordan, the clinic’s general manager.

As Allegheny County’s only minority-owned outpatient provider of  mental-health services, Adaptive Behavioral brings a much-needed culturally  sensitive approach to minority and poor communities, Mr. Jordan said.

He credited Mr. Reid with seeing the need for the clinic, which hopes to  expand to neighborhoods outside the city.

Don Clark, the county Human Services Department’s deputy director for  behavioral health and intellectual disability, confirmed that it’s been a  challenge to provide culturally competent care to minority groups, including  immigrants and people with disabilities.

Mr. Jordan declined to identify the owners of the for-profit clinic, a  relative rarity in a field dominated by nonprofit treatment providers. Mr. Reid  is affiliated with similar clinics in Atlanta and Boston and a co-author of  “Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder,” a 2005 book about mental illness in black  America.

As founder and president of the Black Mental Health Alliance of  Massachusetts, Mr. Reid played a leading role this year in the organization’s  video and billboard campaign targeting youths whose baggy pants expose their  underwear.

“Pull up your pants. Respect yourself,” the video says.

Mr. Reid said the alliance’s campaign, which grew out of complaints from  parents, has drawn mixed reviews. “There’s always that 20 percent who think I’m  promoting racial profiling,” he said.

The alliance, which tries to improve care in minority and poor communities,  also worked this year with Roxbury Community College to develop a training  program for mental-health paraprofessionals.

Mr. Jordan said Adaptive Behavioral provides individual, group and family  therapy to patients with medical assistance and other types of insurance.

So far, the clinic has more than 260 clients. Among those needing continuing  care, the client follow-through rate is an unusually high 80 percent, a sign  that the clinic is needed, Mr. Jordan said.