In observance of Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, Wabanaki Public Health is working to bring greater attention to mental health issues in our communities.
The focus of 2019 is the WhyCare? campaign. According to NAMI: “The WhyCare? campaign is an opportunity to share the importance of mental health treatment, support and services to the millions of people, families, caregivers and loved ones affected by mental illness and a challenge to address broken systems and attitudes that present barriers to treatment and recovery.”
One in 5 adults will experience a mental health issue this year. Stigma is toxic to mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear, and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment. The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it.
In addition, disparities in mental health care still prevent people in diverse communities from getting the treatment they need. The outcomes of poorer quality of care come at a high cost to our communities.
It’s important to talk about mental health conditions, treatment and research; eliminate stigma; and prevent economic burden. All people deserve access to quality mental health services.
Mental health issues affect one in four families in the U.S., and people in diverse communities are no exception. The U.S. Surgeon General reports that minorities:
- Are less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for their mental health condition
- Have less access to and availability of mental health services
- Are underrepresented in mental health research
In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives designated July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Campbell was a leading African American journalist and novelist, and a national spokesperson for individuals and families affected by mental health issues. She died in 2006.
For additional information about National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and to access resources and activities, visit NAMI.org, the Office of Minority Health or the National Network to Eliminate Disparities.
Sources: NAMI and NNED.