July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness month. In May 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives announced July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. A bipartisan group had two goals by establishing this holiday. One goal was to bring more awareness to mental illness and provide better access to mental health treatment and services. The other goal was to promote and intensify public awareness of mental illnesses among minorities. The month was named after the author, journalist, advocate, co-founder of National Alliance on Mental Health Urban Los Angeles, and national spokesperson, Bebe Moore Campbell. Campbell passed away in November 2006.
Three Reasons Why National Minority Mental Health Month is Important
Bringing awareness about mental health within minorities is such an important topic. National Minority Mental Health Awareness month provides knowledge and support about these mental health illnesses to those in need.
The awareness of minorities who suffer from mental health illnesses helps them feel less alone. This helps minorities feel included rather than overlooked in the area of mental health.
National Minority Mental Health Awareness month provides information and knowledge to those struggling. It eliminates the stigma behind mental health illnesses in BIPOC communities.
There seems to be a strong negative view of mental health illnesses in Black communities. For example, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states: “One study showed that 63% of Black people believe that a mental health condition is a sign of personal weakness. As a result, people may experience shame about having a mental illness and worry that they may be discriminated against due to their condition. For many in the Black community, it can be incredibly challenging to discuss the topic of mental health due to this concern about how they may be perceived by others. This fear could prevent people from seeking mental health care when they really need it.”
Four Ways to Support Someone With Mental Illness
It can be difficult dealing with a mental health illness. If someone appears to be struggling with this, encourage them to seek professional help.
You could be the first step for those who struggle with mental health illnesses. Providing the resources that they can read or reach out to for assistance can be so helpful. There are tons of resources out there. The NAMI features many stories and resources to help people not feel alone.
Most organizations and healthcare companies have opportunities for the public to donate. Check with your local and national mental health organizations for more details, including the NAMI).
If helping those who need additional support and encouragement is a passion of yours, then volunteer some of your time. Many people just need a listening ear.
As always with anything in life, show kindness to all people. You never know what someone is going through.