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July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. In the midst of racial inequities at the forefront of our nation, combined with a pandemic that is disproportionately affecting minorities, it is important to be an ally and support those who may be struggling.

In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives announced July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Bebe Moore was an author, advocate, and national spokesperson for mental health education and support among diverse communities. After her passing in 2006, a month was dedicated to honor Campbell’s inspiring charge to end the stigma of mental health and provide resources to struggling communities.

“Once my loved ones accepted the diagnosis, healing began for the entire family, but it took too long. It took years. Can’t we, as a nation, begin to speed up that process? We need a national campaign to destigmatize mental illness, especially one targeted toward African Americans…It’s not shameful to have a mental illness. Get treatment. Recovery is possible.”

–Bebe Moore Campbell, 2005

According to a 2017 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the CDC, 10.5% (3.5 million) of young adults age 18 to 25 have had serious thoughts of suicide, including 8.3% of non-Hispanic blacks and 9.2% of Hispanics. Marginalized communities can face additional difficulties when seeking care, including language barriers, care discrepancies, health insurance coverage, and mental health stigma.

For more, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).