As a way to honor the efforts of an American author, journalist, teacher, and mental health advocate, Bebe Moore Campbell (1950-2006), National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was established. As a result of a family member's mental illness, Campbell felt motivated to raise awareness about racial and ethnic minority mental health struggles. As a founding member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Urban Los Angeles, she played an important role in the organization.
The U.S. House of Representatives proclaimed July Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in May 2008.
In order to combat mental illness, it is necessary that public awareness and access to mental health treatment be improved.
Public awareness and access to mental health services must be improved in order to improve mental health services.
As part of Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, the public should be made aware of mental illness and mental illness among minorities.
As part of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in 2023, the theme is "Culture, Community, & Connection" which highlights how these factors support mental health and well-being. Often, racial and ethnic minorities face unique challenges in accessing mental health care, including language barriers and cultural stigmas. Creating a more supportive environment for all people can be achieved by encouraging culture, connection, and community.
In honor of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, here are a few ways to get involved:
Get to know the challenges racial and ethnic minority communities face when it comes to gaining access to mental health care.
You can share mental health resources and information with your family, friends, and community members.
Find out how to cope with stress and respond to loss in a healthy way. Consider engaging in these practices whenever possible.
Educate family, friends, neighbors, and others in your community about mental health and healthy coping skills.
Use non-stigmatizing language when discussing mental health.
Become aware of implicit bias. The term implicit bias refers to unintentional attitudes, behaviors, and actions that favor or oppose one group or individual.
Understand microaggressions. There are many types of microaggressions, including verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, and insults we encounter every day. As a result of being a member of a marginalized group, they convey negative messages. There are both intentional and unintentional forms of microaggressions.
Support policies that ensure mental health care is available for all people, regardless of their racial or ethnic background.
Identify a culturally competent mental health professional that can provide you with individualized care.
Everyone should take steps to support mental health, but minorities are especially vulnerable to mental illness. It is worthwhile to get involved in National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month so that we can create a more equitable and just society for everyone.
You can learn more about National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month by visiting the following websites:
Office of Minority Health: https://www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/minority-mental-health/
National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Bebe-Moore-Campbell-National-Minority-Mental-Health-Awareness-Month
Mental Health America: https://www.mhanational.org/bipoc/mental-health-month
What are some of the mental health challenges that minority groups face?
There are a number of mental health challenges that minorities may encounter, including:
Higher rates of mental illness. Black adults in the U.S. often report persistent symptoms of emotional distress, such as sadness and feeling like everything is an effort, according to the Office of Minority Health of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Less access to mental health care. In minority communities, mental health care may be less accessible than in white communities. It may be related to a number of factors, including the lack of health insurance, language barriers, and cultural stigmas. Treatment options can also be limited due to socioeconomic factors. A staggering 10.4% of Black Americans lacked health insurance in 2020.
More severe symptoms. The symptoms of mental illness may be more severe in minorities than in whites. It may be caused by discrimination, poverty, and lack of social support, among other factors.
What are some of the barriers to mental health care for minority groups?
Many barriers exist for minorities in seeking mental health care, including:
Lack of insurance. In many minority groups, health insurance is nonexistent, which makes mental health care difficult to afford.
Language barriers. It may be difficult for minority groups to find mental health providers who speak their language if they do not speak English.
Cultural stigma. There may be cultural stigmas associated with mental health care that can discourage minority groups from seeking treatment.
Discrimination. It is possible for minorities to experience discrimination from mental health providers, which can leave them feeling unwelcome and unsupported.
What can be done to improve mental health outcomes for minority groups?
In order to improve the mental health outcomes of minority groups, there are several things that can be done, including:
Increasing access to mental health care. Mental health care coverage can be expanded, more mental health services provided to minority communities, and culturally competent mental health providers trained.
Raising awareness of mental health. In order to do so, campaigns can be conducted to educate the public, healthcare providers can be trained, and mental illness can be stigmatized as a result of public education campaigns.
Supporting minority-led mental health organizations. Minorities can access culturally-appropriate mental health care and advocacy through these organizations.
How can minority mental health be addressed?
The following resources are available to support minority mental health:
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The NAMI website provides information and resources, as well as a helpline and support groups for minority mental health.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). As well as a website with information and resources, a helpline, and a directory of mental health providers, SAMHSA offers a number of resources for minority mental health.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Minority mental health resources are available from NIMH, including a website with information and resources, a contact line, and a portfolio of research.
The mental health struggles of minority members are not unique. If you are struggling, you are not alone. Support is available through a variety of resources.