July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and brings the opportunity to raise awareness and understanding of the mental health needs and experiences within BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and other underrepresented communities.
Courtney Wilson, a Community Health Educator with the Pee Dee Community Systems Team, has actively raised awareness regarding Minority Mental Health. She has presented to and facilitated dialogue that focuses on Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia and Mental Illness with a senior center and the chapter of an historically African American sorority.
Wilson focused on ways that individuals can be more cognizant of the diseases and ways to combat the challenges that arise from them.
You Are Not Alone
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):
- Communities of color face an added level of stigma and discrimination when seeking mental health care.
- Sexual and gender minority individuals and people of color have less access to appropriate mental health services, meaning they are less likely to receive necessary high-quality care.
- Our culture, beliefs, sexual identity, values, race and language all affect how we perceive and experience mental health conditions.
- Cultural differences can significantly influence what treatments, coping mechanisms and supports work for us.
On June 2, 2008, Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was formally recognized by Congress “to enhance public awareness of mental illness, especially within minority communities”.
If you would like to take part in conversations such as these, consider checking out this upcoming webinar being hosted by The Office of Minority Health at U.S. Department of HHS: Trauma and COVID-19: Addressing Mental Health Among Racial/Ethnic Minority Populations on July 29, 2021; 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET
For more ways you can support and learn about mental health in communities of color:
- Visit NAMI’s online Identity and Cultural Dimensions section for resources specific to minority and underrepresented communities.
- Check out NAMI’s Strength Over Silence Video Series at Stories of Courage, Culture and Community where through candid and courageous stories of lived experience, these mental health champions share their journeys of resiliency and recovery.
- Visit Addressing Increasing Suicide Rates in the Black Community: How You Can Help
- Visit Five Ways to be More Culturally Aware
- Visit Mental Health Disparities: Diverse Populations
- Consider registering for next year’s Minority Mental Health Awareness Summit.
- Take MHA’s BIPOC and LGBTQ’s Peer Support Survey to help promote inclusion in our peer spaces.
Additional helpful sites to learn more:
- National Institute of Mental Health
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health
- American Psychological Association Office of Ethnic and Minority Affairs
- Mental Health America BIPOC And LGBTQ+ Mental Health