Happy BIPOC Mental Health Month, everyone!

Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, also known as BIPOC Mental Health Month, was formally recognized in June 2008. Observed each July, the month honors the mental health struggles of people of color.

Bebe Moore Campbell was an American author, journalist, teacher, and mental health advocate. Her dedication to shed light on the mental health needs of minority communities is why we recognize BIPOC Mental Health Month today. According to Mental Health America, “Bebe Moore Campbell struggled to support her daughter who battled with mental illness and a system that prevented her daughter from getting help and support. She founded NAMI-Inglewood in a predominantly Black neighborhood to create a space that was safe for Black people to talk about mental health concerns.” Unfortunately, she passed away on November 27, 2006. However, it is great to see that her name lives on through her literary works, National Alliance of Mental Illness Urban Los Angeles, and of course, BIPOC Mental Health Month.

BIPOC Mental Health Month is recognized during July to help promote public awareness of mental health among POC communities. According to Each Mind Matters, “In general, people from ethnic and cultural communities are less likely to receive necessary mental health services, and those who are in treatment often receive poorer-quality care. Many factors likely play a role including socioeconomic differences, stigma toward people with mental health issues within the community itself as well as the fear of experiencing a double burden of discrimination based on one’s race and mental health condition. New approaches to healing, supporting people in times of distress as well as changing conversations about mental health are just a few reasons why there is hope in our diverse communities.”

Mental illness does not discriminate, making it significant to provide the best mental health services we can, regardless of race, ethnicity, and such. You can find several mental health resources for people of color and queer people – including databases of inclusive therapists and podcasts that share stories of people of color with mental illnesses – here: https://www.onlinemswprograms.com/resources/social-issues/mental-health-resources-racial-ethnic-groups/

Even if it is not a month dedicated to mental health awareness, we can help those around us through simple ways. For instance, one of the most impactful and easy ways to help each other is to ask how someone is doing. We can show those around us that we are there for them through multiple ways, including opening up to them ourselves. It is also necessary to keep in mind that no matter how good someone’s life seems to be, that doesn’t mean they cannot have mental health struggles.

Thank you for reading, and stay safe! Sadly, COVID cases are rising again, so please do your best to get vaccinated, wear a mask when in public spaces, and do social distancing. I, along with my friends and family, have received the vaccine and have not seen any long-term side effects for those concerned about receiving the vaccine.