Updated: Jul 6, 2019
The Month of July is known by its summertime fun, cookouts, fireworks, and the occasional beach trip. However, within its 31 days July holds Minority Mental Health Awareness Month a topic that we as a society need to actively participate more in.
Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 2008 to bring more awareness, treatment, and resources to communities of color. Another huge component of this month is breaking down the stigma of mental health within these communities allowing treatment to be given.
According to the US HHS Office of Minority Health, “Adult Black/African Americans are 20 percent more likely to report serious psychological distress than adult whites”. Researchers at the American Psychiatric Association, found 18.9% of Hispanic students grades 9th–12th considered suicide and 11.3% had attempted suicide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 10.8% of Asian American high school students report having attempted suicide as compared to 6.2% of white students. These numbers are just a small look at the reality of what mental health looks like within the lives of Black and Brown individuals. There are also many financial barriers such as lack of insurance and for some communities the lack of communication with their doctor.
One of the biggest issues when it comes to engaging minority communities in mental health treatment is the lack of representation. According to the US HHS Office of Minority Health less than 2% of mental health providers are Black! So with all of this being said there are many issues from lack of providers, lack of financials, racism, and language barriers that impacts minorities.
Now the question becomes what in 2019 can we do in our daily lives to bring awareness and create a safe space for minorities to speak up about their mental health?
Within these Black and Brown communities we need to break these generational curses and beliefs that mental health does not exist.
Yes, prayer works but sometimes Jesus sends a doctor to do his work.
We need to normalize the idea that our "stress" or "frustration" could actually encompass more than a surface level term.
We need to stop minimizing the concerns our Black and Brown sisters and brothers bring to us not everything can be brushed off.
We need to encourage those in our communities looking to work in the mental health field because we need more people that look like US.
And that is another key point…Us. We need to not be afraid to take care of us, to admit the trauma placed on us, to explore the past and the choices that impacted us. We as People of Color are resilient and it is unfortunate that most of the resilience was accompanied by pain and ingrained mental prisons. But it is never too late to make yourself whole again. Below are resources and platforms that I personally have stumbled upon in my personal journey with mental health. Minority Mental Health is not just limited to July but we hope this month starts a conversation for you and your loved ones.
Resources and Platforms: