July is National Minority Mental Health Month
July is National Minority Mental Health Month and here is why it matters?
We are two years from when the world shut down due to a national pandemic, Covid 19. We all thought the shutdown was going to be for two weeks, but little did we know, it would continue for months. During the time of the shutdown, we were forced to deal with things that we would normally overlook or ignore because of our busy lives. However, as we sat in our houses, we had to face the reality of our lives. We turned on the TV and we saw reports of the number of people dying continue to rise. The financial uncertainty, the healthcare disparities, policy brutality, and the list continues adding to what we had to deal with Covid-19. The world went through a traumatic experience, and we were expected to move on as normal in 2021. We are still trying to catch up from the last two years.
According to the Mental Health America, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) mental health illness are:
- Percent of African Americans with Mental Illness: 17%
- Percent of Latinx/Hispanic Americans with Mental Illness: 15%
- Percent of Asian Americans with Mental Illness: 13%
- Percent of Native Americans/Alaskan Natives with Mental Illness: 23%
- Percent of people who identify as being two or more races with mental illness: 25%
The numbers are only a snapshot of the prevalence of mental health in special populations. July officially became the National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, in June 2008 Bebe Moore Campbell who was an advocate for mental health worked hard to get a month to recognize the disparities among BIPOC when it comes to mental health and to shed light on resources for the community.
We all may know someone who may be struggling with a mental health illness, or this may be a season that is heavy for you or a person you know. During this month or the future month, I want to share with you how to support someone who is struggling, or this may be your heavy season. You are not alone in this season. I want to encourage you to speak to someone either a licensed therapist or start with a confidant. There are also support groups in your community that you can be a part of.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Here are resources for immediate help.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Call 800-273-TALK (8255)
If you or someone you know is in crisis—whether they are considering suicide or not—please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline connects you with a crisis center in the Lifeline network closest to your location. Your call will be answered by a trained crisis worker who will listen empathetically and without judgment. The crisis worker will work to ensure that you feel safe and help identify options and information about mental health services in your area. Your call is confidential and free.
Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-741
Connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message.
National Domestic Violence Hotline – Call 800-799-SAFE (7233)
Trained expert advocates are available 24/7 to provide confidential support to anyone experiencing domestic violence or seeking resources and information. Help is available in Spanish and other languages.
National Sexual Assault Hotline – Call 800-656-HOPE (4673)
Connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area that offers access to a range of free services. Crisis chat support is available at Online Hotline. Free help, 24/7.
Additional resources are:
You can also go to your local university to see if they offer FREE counselling services.
If you are employed, seek out your Employer Assistance Program (EAP), you have access to FREE counselling services as well.
Why is BIPOC mental health awareness month so important? This is a tough season for everybody for multiple reasons and we never know what people are dealing with, however BIPOC deals with the stigma in communities around mental health, the lack of resources available to the community, and the miseducation surrounding education. When we take a month to focus on the BIPOC community for mental health, we are combating those stigmas, the miseducation, and providing resources to the community. We are taking strides to bring awareness one community at a time. Be Kind to people, you just never know what they are dealing with so let us lead with kindness and love.