July is Minority Mental Health Month! Especially in times of crisis, it’s important to pay attention to who is impacted the most. People of color are more likely to be impacted by the COVID-19 virus, which in turn can negatively impact mental health. The recent events surrounding police brutality, which disproportionately kills Black Americans, also have an impact on mental health. Now is a great time to celebrate and raise awareness for Minority Mental Health Month, because it’s more important today than ever. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of and it’s something that’s important to address, no matter what a person’s identity is.
About Minority Mental Health Month
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Minority Health Month is a time to “enhance public awareness of mental illness and mental illness among minorities.” When we use the term “minority”, we mean a group of people that experiences social disadvantages and uneven distribution of power compared to the dominant social group. For example, people can belong to a minority group depending on their race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, and disabilities.
Bebe Moore Campbell, an advocate and author, and friend Linda Wharton-Boyd developed the idea for Minority Mental Health Month in 2005 and began to drum up support by holding events to raise awareness in their community, such as speeches and news conferences. Bebe Moore Campbell was an advocate for mental health support in Black and other communities.
Besides advocating for and inspiring Minority Mental Health Month, Bebe Moore Campbell wrote many books about race and mental illness. Find a list of her books here. After her death in 2006, the U.S. House of Representatives made July National Minority Mental Health Month.
Why is Minority Mental Health Month Important?
People of color with a mental illness are less likely to receive mental health treatment than their white counterparts. Language, economic disparities, location, access to health care, and community stigma can be barriers to accessing care. Because of this, acknowledging the importance of mental health support in communities of color is especially important.
Talking about mental illness is an important part of healing. Acknowledging your own struggles with mental health or mental illness is a starting point to finding resources to help you recover. Recognizing that mental illness is a real issue helps us look closer and determine how we can address the problem. In short, the first part of making a change is realizing that a change needs to be made.
Minority Mental Health Month aims to spread the message that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of and to encourage our community to increase their support for mental health treatment for communities of color.
Guild Stands With You
We know that addressing the intersections of mental health and race is an important part of healing the communities we serve. We stand with the people of color in our community. If you are seeking mental health resources, call our Community Access team at (651) 925-8490.
Learn About Minority Mental Health Month, National Alliance on Mental Illness
Mental Health Care Matters, National Alliance on Mental Illness
Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Bebe Moore Campbell, Encyclopaedia Britannica
Identity and Cultural Dimensions, National Alliance on Mental Illness