Minority Mental Health Month

Minority Mental Health Month

Minority Mental Health Month is recognized each July and aims to raise awareness about the disparities  in mental healthcare. Underrepresented groups often face barriers to physical and mental health care. Everyone deserves equal access to healthcare, and the goal of Minority Mental Health Month is to make that a reality. 

Origins of Minority Mental Health Month

Minority Mental Health Month, also referred to as BIPOC Mental Health Month, was first recognized in 2008. The month was announced by the United States House of Representatives in honor of Bebe Moore Campbell, founder of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Urban Los Angeles chapter. Miss Campbell advocated for equal healthcare, “we need a national campaign to destigmatize mental illness… It’s not shameful to have a mental illness. Get treatment. Recovery is possible.” Although she passed away in 2006, Minority Mental Health Month has allowed her legacy to carry on and continue to spark change.

Barriers to Care

There are many barriers to mental healthcare for minorities. According to the American Psychiatric Association, common healthcare barriers faced by racial minorities include:

  • Stigma related to mental health and mental healthcare
  • Language barriers
  • Lack of diversity among healthcare providers
  • Lack of insurance
  • Inadequate health support from programs such as insurance coverage, Medicaid, and more

Addressing HealthCare Disparities

Although there is no one clear answer on how to eliminate disparities in mental healthcare, there are steps that can be taken to create a more inclusive healthcare system. To help create equal access to healthcare for all, as a community we can work together to:

  • Increase public knowledge of disparities in healthcare
  • Fight stigma among racial minorities and healthcare
  • Have a diverse community of healthcare providers
  • Raise cultural competency among providers
  • Advocate for expanding insurance coverage