Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was officially announced in May 2008 by the US House of Representatives. Bebe Moore Campbell was an author, advocate, co-founder of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Urban Los Angeles and national spokesperson, who passed away in November 2006. Campbell advocated for mental health education and support among individuals of diverse communities, which inspired a friend to suggest dedicating a month to her fight in ending the mental health stigma. (1)
The goals of the National Minority Mental Health Month are to improve access to mental health treatment and services, promote public awareness of mental illness, and to enhance public awareness of mental illness among minorities. (1)
Mental illness affects one in five adults in America and is a leading cause of disability, however almost two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek help, and racial and ethnic groups are even less likely to get help. “Minorities are less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for their mental illness, have less access to and availability of mental health services and often receive a poorer quality of mental health care.” (2)
Although mental health disorders are widely understudied among American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN), the studies that are available have shown that mental health is a major concern for AI/ANs. Specifically, AI/ANs have a higher prevalence of a variety of mental health conditions, experience PTSD twice as often as the general population, and are known to “experience serious psychological distress 1.5 times more than the general population”. (3)
If you want to get involved and support furthering minority mental health awareness, visit NAMI’s website at https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/July-2017/Getting-Involved-with-Minority-Mental-Health to learn what you can do.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness. (n.d.). Learn About Minority Mental Health Month. Retrieved July 19, 2017, from https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Minority-Mental-Health-Awareness-Month/Learn-About-Minority-Mental-Health-Month
- US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. (2017, July 7). Minority Mental Health Awareness Month – July. Retrieved July 19, 2017, from https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/content.aspx?ID=9447&lvl=2&lvlid=12
- American Psychiatric Association Office of Minority and National Affairs. (2010). Mental Health Disparities: American Indians and Alaska Natives. Retrieved July 19, 2017, from https://www.integration.samhsa.gov/workforce/mental_health_disparities_american_indian_and_alaskan_natives.pdf