July is Minority Mental Health Month
Via National Alliance on Mental Illness:
“Once my loved ones accepted the diagnosis, healing began for the entire family, but it took too long. It took years. Can’t we, as a nation, begin to speed up that process? We need a national campaign to destigmatize mental illness, especially one targeted toward African Americans…It’s not shameful to have a mental illness. Get treatment. Recovery is possible.”
–Bebe Moore Campbell, 2005
In May of 2008, the US House of Representatives announced July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. The author, advocate, co-founder of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness ) Urban Los Angeles and the NAMI national spokesperson passed away in November 2006. The theme for 2021 “You Are Not Alone,” focusing on prioritizing mental health and acknowledging that it’s okay to not be okay.
According to pshyciatry.org despite recent efforts to improve mental health services for African Americans and other minority groups, barriers remain. They include:
- Stigma associated with mental illness
- Distrust of the health care system
- Lack of providers from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds
- Lack of culturally competent providers
- Lack of insurance, underinsurance
Other common barriers include: the importance of family privacy, lack of knowledge regarding available treatments, and denial of mental health problems.
If you are dealing with a mental health crisis, call the NAMI Helpline at 800-950-NAMI text “NAMI” to 741741. You can learn more at nami.org.