06 Jul National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month focuses on bringing awareness to the struggles that Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) face with Mental Health in the United States. While we know anyone can struggle with mental health issues regardless of their race, color, gender, background, or identity, we also know these things can make it more difficult to access treatments.
The purpose of this month is to empower and uplift communities that are underrepresented with their mental health while eradicating stigma. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, make choices, feel, act, relate to others and handle stress.
According to the CDC, more than 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. live with a mental illness. Mental health issues are treatable and often preventable, but most BIPOC communities do not have access to the resources needed and face more challenges than others getting mental health care. There are a variety of reasons—cost being the most common—others include, not having health insurance, providers that are not from their background or identity, the stigma about mental health care within communities, discrimination, and overall lack of awareness about mental health.
Mental health affects all of us and we all have the right to find help and not feel shame or judgement about it. Our environment can have a big impact on our mental health, and what we experience (racial discrimination, poverty, violence, etc.) can change our perception of the world and what help looks like.
National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is important because it raises awareness on the unique challenges that minority populations face when it comes to mental health, it reduces stigma by encouraging people to get the help they need without shame, fear or judgement and promoting access to care by advocating for quality mental healthcare for all.
More work needs to be done to ensure underrepresented communities are served such as, making sure that there are bilingual mental health care providers, providing knowledgeable interpreters and finding spiritual support within communities.
Here are tips on what you can do to celebrate and help this month:
- Learn about Mental Health
- Talk about mental health and use non-stigmatizing language
- Learn about implicit bias and microaggressions
- Volunteer at an organization that is dedicated to mental health
- Attend a mental health event
- Share information on mental health, healthy coping skills, and resources to family, friends, neighbors and others in your community!
- Post on your social media, the #shadesofmentalhealth created by National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) and make sure to tag them @NAMI.
This month let us use our voice, share our story, and make a path for change!
About National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month:
Bebe Moore Campbell was not only the co-founder of the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), she was an author, teacher and advocate for mental health education, and improving mental healthcare facilities in communities with poverty. She worked hard to spread awareness of this month, speaking to minorities about the importance of getting mental health checkups until she passed away from cancer in 2006. In 2006, her co-founder and fellow advocates obtained support of Representatives Albert Wynn and Diane Watson to sign and officially create the Bebe Moore Campbell National Mental Health Awareness Month.