July is Minority Mental Health Month. Established in 2008, it is also known as the Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and serves to increase public awareness of harmful stigmas and disparities in mental health care for minorities and underserved communities.
Bebe Moore Campbell was an author, advocate, national spokesperson, and co-founder of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Urban Los Angeles. She advocated to provide mental health education and improve mental health care access for people of color. When Campbell passed away in 2006 her close friend, Linda Warton-Boyd along with allies and friends, fought for recognition of a Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
Mental health issues impact all people. However, race, culture, ethnicity, and sexual orientation can make access to mental health treatment more difficult. Barriers include a lack of health coverage, lower quality of care, stigma of mental illness, less access to care, and discrimination in the treatment setting to name a few.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
- In 2017, 41.5% of youth ages 12-17 received care for a major depressive episode, but only 35.1% of black youth and 32.7% of Hispanic youth received treatment for their condition.
- Asian American adults were less likely to use mental health services than any other racial/ethnic group.
- In 2017, 13.3% of youth ages 12-17 had at least one depressive episode, but that number was higher among American Indian and Alaska Native youth at 16.3% and among Hispanic youth at 13.8%.
- In 2017, 18.9% of adults (46.6 million people) had a mental illness. That rate was higher among people of two or more races at 28.6%, non-Hispanic whites at 20.4% and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders at 19.4%.
Here are a few useful resources to finding mental health services and wellness strategies specific to Black people.
Visit the following resources to learn more about Minority Mental Health Month:
National Alliance on Mental Illness