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Celebrating Minority Mental Health Month


Let’s face it, it can be tough existing as a racial minority here in America. From 1619 to the present day, peoples of African Descent throughout the Diaspora have faced insurmountable challenges that no other ethnicity in the history of mankind have faced. Relying on ingenuity, unity, survival instincts, and faith, have all the deciding factor between survival or genocidal extinction. Now there have been other groups who have faced oppression on a smaller but different scale, but the end result have all been similar: a profound psychological effect has resulted for generations that followed and generations that are to come. 

July is BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Mental Health Awareness Month. Formally known as the Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. The CDC observes National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month each July, and the purpose is to raise awareness of the challenges that affect the mental health of racial and ethnic minority groups. Mental Health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, act, handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is just as important as physical health throughout our lives.

Mental health issues are common – more than 1 in 5 US adults live with a mental illness. Mental health issues are treatable and often preventable, but not everyone has access to the resources they need. People in some racial and ethnic minority groups face more challenges than others getting mental health care.

Many people from racial and ethnic minority groups have difficulty getting mental health care. This can be due to many different reasons, such as cost or not having adequate health insurance coverage. It may also be challenging to find providers from one’s racial or ethnic group. Stigma or negative ideas about mental health care may also prevent people from seeking services. Other things in our environment can impact mental health and emotional well-being. For example, experiencing or witnessing racial discrimination or racial violence can cause stress and racial trauma. Poverty (or having low income) may limit access to mental health care. Poverty can also cause stress and may lead to mental health issues. Everyone benefits when people from racial and ethnic minority groups can thrive. We all have a role to play in promoting Health Equity. 

Individuals can learn more about mental health. Take the time to learn about coping with stress and responding to loss. Share information on mental health. Educate oneself about Implicit Bias. Implicit biases are unintentional attitudes, behaviors, and actions that are in favor of or against one person or group. Learn about Microaggressions. Microaggressions are everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults. They communicate negative messages to people because of their membership in a marginalized group. Microaggressions can be intentional or unintentional. 

Public Health Organizations Ensure mental health programming incorporates perspectives, ideas, and decision-making from people from racial and ethnic minority groups at all stages of programming – from planning to evaluation. Research the data on mental health, as well as historical, social, and cultural factors impacting racial and ethnic minority groups, when developing organizational priorities and programs. Partner with other organizations to fill gaps in expertise and representation from racial and ethnic minority groups. Monitor and evaluate mental health programs for progress towards health equity and elimination of racial disparities. Incorporate and develop practices to reduce racism in programs and policies to improve mental health equity.

Health Educators and Communicators can take active steps to increase the reach of mental health information to racial and ethnic minority groups. This should include using culturally responsive communication outlets. Verify and promote free and low-cost mental health resources through diverse channels.

Healthcare Systems can screen patients for depression and other mental health conditions and refer patients to accessible mental health care services. Make mental health educational materials available to all patients during their appointments, via patient portals, and in waiting rooms. Make efforts to recruit mental healthcare providers that reflect the race and ethnicity of the populations served.

States and Communities can Expand community-based mental health care, including culturally responsive mental health services at low or no cost for youth and adults. Evaluate policies for their differential impact on social determinants of health. When needed, modify these policies or create new policies that ensure equitable access to resources for all people. Evaluate policies for their potential to reinforce mental health stigma and revise or remove stigmatizing policies. Encourage community and faith-based leaders to discuss mental health issues to help reduce stigma. Make efforts to ensure decision-makers reflect the races and ethnicities of the populations they serve.


  • Adler NE, Newman K. 2002. Socioeconomic disparities in health: Pathways and policies. Health Affairs 21(2):60-76.
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Understanding Racial and Ethnic Differences in Health in Late Life: A Research Agenda. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/11036.
  • Anderson NB, Armstead CA. 1995. Toward understanding the association of socioeconomic status and health: A new challenge for the biopsychosocial approach. Psychosomatic Medicine 57:213-225.
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Understanding Racial and Ethnic Differences in Health in Late Life: A Research Agenda. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/11036.
BIPOC, Mental Health, CDC, Minorities, Public Health Organizations


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