July is Minority Mental Health Month. This month was designated in 2008 as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and is a nationwide effort developed by Mental Health America to “shed light on the multitude of mental health experiences within BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities and other communities that face disproportionate inequities due to systemic barriers and historical adversity.”
Bebe Moore Campbell was a mental health advocate, American author, educator, and journalist who worked to shed light on the mental health needs of underrepresented communities. She founded NAMI-Inglewood in a predominantly Black neighborhood in an effort to create a safe space for Black people to talk about their mental health concerns.
Every year millions of Americans experience the reality of living with a mental health condition. In fact, 1 in 5 individuals have a mental health diagnosis. Mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender, or identity. Mental illness can impact anyone. However, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), racial and ethnic minority groups are less likely to have access to mental health services in the United States. Racial minorities are less likely to receive a diagnosis for their mental illness, as well as use community mental health services.
Some of the barriers that impact minority communities include barriers to recovery due to a lack of access to health care, language barriers, lower rates of medical coverage, bias and discrimination in the delivery of care, and also stigma. So how can we support all our communities? Providing outreach and advocacy to ensure every individual is able to receive access to effective treatment and make sure stigma and discrimination do not impact anyone seeking out healthcare.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health condition, it’s important to know seeking treatment early can play a strong role in the recovery process and it is possible to live a happy and full life. There are several ways to get help:
– Talk to your doctor.
– Get a referral to a mental health specialist.
– Work with your mental health provider to integrate your culture into your treatment plan.
– Seek support from your family and friends.
– Educate yourself on mental health conditions.
This month is an opportunity to raise awareness and eliminate the stigma in diverse communities. Take time to inspire others to raise awareness and take part in sharing resources and information specific to mental health for minority communities.
Jill Haupts, Outreach Coordinator for The Kim Foundation
Jill Haupts is the Outreach Coordinator at The Kim Foundation. She received her bachelor’s degree in Child, Adult, and Family Services from Iowa State University in 2016. Jill joined the Kim Foundation in January of 2020, coming from Des Moines, Iowa. Her previous experience includes volunteer recruitment and fundraising, as well as experience coordinating services and providing resources to adults who have a mental health diagnosis. Jill’s role in the foundation is coordinating event logistics, presenting and attending community fairs, as well as volunteer coordination and recruitment. She enjoys working in the nonprofit field and has a passion for advocacy and helping others.