Mental health issues can affect anyone regardless of color, gender, identity, or race. Unfortunately, a person’s identity and background can make accessing mental health resources more difficult.
Thankfully, the Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month strives to help end the stigma of mental illness and shine a light on mental illness among African Americans and other minorities.
Bebe Moore Campbell
Bebe Moore Campbell was an advocate, national spokesperson, author, and co-founder of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Urban Los Angeles. Receiving high accolades from NAMI, Campbell was awarded the Outstanding Media Award in 2003.
National Minority Mental Health Taskforce
Campbell was passionate about advocating for mental health education among diverse communities. She helped raise awareness through book signings and other events.
She would later create the National Minority Mental Health Taskforce of friends and allies. Unfortunately, when Campbell fell ill, she was unable to help.
Once Bebe Moore Campbell passed away from cancer, her friends and family continued to raise public awareness of mental illness among minority communities.
July As National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
Campbell’s loved ones received support from representatives who co-signed legislation. In 2008, the US House of Representatives announced that the month of July would be known as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
This legislation not only raised awareness of mental health care in minority populations but also aimed to improve access to mental health treatment for people of color and other minorities.
During the month of July, the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) offers a free e-learning program to help others understand the struggles people of color face when seeking mental health services.
Mental Health & Minority Groups
Mental Health America (MHA) promotes Minority Mental Health Month to shed light on mental health issues that affect:
- Hispanic communities
- Asian American communities
- African American communities
- Native American communities
- LGBTQ communities
Through outreach and advocacy, communities of color and other ethnic groups can receive the quality care they deserve. Racial trauma is a strong factor in many PTSD diagnoses for people of color.
If left untreated, poor mental health can turn into a serious mental illness. Substance use can also worsen mental health issues.
Barriers For Minorities
Minority groups face many barriers when it comes to receiving mental health care, including:
- socioeconomic disparities
The role that Bebe Moore Campbell played in raising awareness of the well-being of minorities is honored every July.
Mental Health Resources
There are mental health resources available to help minorities or anyone who suffers from mental health issues, including:
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- The Trevor Project (primarily for those who identify as LGBTQ)
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
A variety of health professionals can help you improve your mental health. Talk to your doctor or contact any mental health organization to learn more.