July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
July is Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. The goal of this awareness month, established in 2008, is to improve access to mental health treatment and services in diverse communities and to promote public awareness of mental illness.
Bebe Moore Campbell was an author, advocate, co-founder of NAMI Urban Los Angeles, and national spokesperson. Campbell was well known for her advocacy for mental health education and support among individuals of diverse communities. Campbell’s advocacy focused on the importance of destigmatizing mental illness and encouraging individuals to get treatment.
Racial and ethnic minorities often suffer from poor mental health outcomes due to the stigma and lack of access to mental healthcare services that exist because of these disparities. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health:
- Black females in grades 9-12 were 60 percent more likely to attempt suicide in 2019, as compared to non-Hispanic white females of the same age.
- A report from the U.S. Surgeon General found that from 1980-1995, the suicide rate among African Americans ages 10 to 14 increased 233 percent, as compared to 120 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
- Only one in 20 Hispanics with a mental health disorder receives services from a mental health specialist, due to factors such as stigma, discrimination, lack of knowledge about services, lack of health insurance, and other factors.
National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is observed to bring awareness to the unique struggles that racial and ethnic minority communities experience regarding mental illness. It is important that we do our part to educate our communities regarding mental health stigma and the importance of removing mental health stigma in minority communities.