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Minority Mental Health Month

July is National Minority Mental Health Month

In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives designated July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Campbell was a leading African American journalist and novelist, and a national spokesperson for individuals and families affected by mental illness. She died in 2006.

Mental illness affects one in four American families and people in diverse communities are no exception. The U.S. Surgeon General reports that minorities:

  • are less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for their mental illness
  • have less access to and availability of mental health services
  • often receive poorer quality of mental health care
  • are underrepresented in mental health research

While the term ‘minority’ is traditionally associated with racial, ethnic, or cultural minorities within the US, Mental Health America (MHA) has been focusing on expanding this term to include individuals from a wide-range of marginalized and under-served communities, including those who may identify as part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum, refugee and immigrant groups, religious groups, and others who are often overlooked. NAMI SW WA is following their example. We are making plans for an LGBTQ+ Connection Recovery Support Group and building bridges between other organizations that serve the LGBTQ+ community.

If you would like to get involved, please call us at 360-695-2823.

NAMI National Strength Over Silence docuseries is wonderful at bringing awareness about minority mental health. Check out the videos below.

More Information and Facts

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

  • Over 70% of Black/African American adolescents with a major depressive episode did not receive treatment for their condition.
  • Almost 25% of adolescents with a major depressive episode in the last year were Hispanic/Latino.
  • Asian American adults were less likely to use mental health services than any other racial/ethnic groups.
  • In the past year, nearly 1 in 10 American Indian or Alaska Native young adults had serious thoughts of suicide.
  • In the past year, 1 in 7 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander adults had a diagnosable mental illness.

“Despite advances in health equity, disparities in mental health care persist. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. are less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to use community mental health services, more likely to use emergency departments, and more likely to receive lower quality care. Poor mental health care access and quality contribute to poor mental health outcomes, including suicide, among racial and ethnic minority populations.” –Office of Minority Health, Department of Health and Human Services.

Mental Health America is striving “to create the space for conversation around these issues.”
They are running a Minority Mental Health Month campaign,#DepthOfMyIdentity, by asking people:

What labels would you use to describe yourself?
How have the perceptions of others impacted you and your mental health?
What advice would you give to others to protect their well-being and overall mental health if they encounter similar challenges?

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