Investing in Minority Mental Health for a Brighter Future


By Jayson Yao


Bebe Moore Campbell, a pioneer in the formation of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
Bebe Moore Campbell, a pioneer in the formation of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, during which we join together to highlight the importance of mental health within diverse and ethnic communities.This month provides an opportunity to promote accessible mental health services and resources while addressing different avenues to support BIPOCs (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.)  Understanding the history of this awareness month, its goals, and the different initiatives designed to promote an accepting and encouraging community can help us better understand this important milestone.

The Emergence of Minority Mental Health Month

Let's take a moment to acknowledge Bebe Moore Campbell for being the incredible individual behind Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Her commitment and cooperation with numerous people and organizations made it possible for this momentous observance. She was a renowned author and a fierce advocate for mental health issues. Campbell's influence is still seen in the expanded conversations, initiatives, and projects geared at addressing the mental health needs of communities in need. Inspiring us to work toward a more inclusive and equitable mental health landscape, this month serves as a reminder of the significance of equal access to resources and assistance.

Minority Mental Health Awareness Month has grown significantly in popularity and support throughout time. It has sparked more conversations, initiatives, projects, and programs that are explicitly designed to address the mental health needs of underrepresented populations. People from all walks of life are motivated to collaborate and work toward establishing a more equitable mental health environment through this commemoration. It ultimately comes down to emphasizing the particular challenges that marginalized communities confront and coming up with solutions.

Understanding the Long-Term Effects

There has been an alarming pattern in the mental health and well-being of persons of color over the previous ten years (2010–2020). During this time, suicide rates among people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds have significantly increased (Figure 1). This scenario is extremely concerning and demands prompt attention and action to address the underlying problems affecting mental health in these communities.

Moreover, recent drug overdose deaths have had a disproportionately negative impact on persons of color (Figure 2). This highlights the important link between mental health and substance abuse in marginalized populations. This expanding epidemic has been made worse by a lack of suitable support systems, resources, and accessible mental health services.

Untreated mental health problems can have a harmful influence on communities of color in a variety of ways. The overall lack of support is a result of limited access to mental healthcare providers, cultural prejudices, and misconceptions about mental illness. This sets up an endless cycle where people encounter major obstacles when trying to get care, which results in untreated mental health disorders, worsening symptoms, and a higher risk of suicide or drug usage.


Intersection of Chronic Illness and Minority Mental Health

People of color are 1.5 to 2.0 more likely than caucasian people to be diagnosed with a major chronic disease (Source 1). Chronic diseases are more prevalent in individuals with lower socioeconomic status and this can be influenced by race and ethnicity. Since you are more likely to develop a chronic illness as a minority, this issue can lead to increase stress, anxiety, and depression among individuals due to the challenges of managing a chronic illness. A common issue faced by communities with lower socioeconomic status is the lack of access to quality healthcare. This lack of access to appropriate, timely, and affordable healthcare services can worsen chronic illness, leading to feelings of helplessness and frustration which can negatively impact mental health.  Healthcare providers and communities can work together to help to improve minority mental health suffering from chronic illness.

How Can You Get Involved in Minority Mental Health

Throughout July, various activities are organized to promote awareness of minority mental health. These activities include educational campaigns, panel discussions, workshops, and outreach programs. 

Educational Campaigns: Includes instructive workshops on subjects like mindfulness and stress-reduction methods that are customized to meet the needs of particular minority communities. These programs aim to enable people to prioritize their mental health and seek help when necessary. These campaigns can allow individuals to express their mental health without being judged. 

Panel Discussions/Workshops: Offers a platform for free speech and idea exchange. Experts in the field of mental health and people who have experienced mental health issues may be on the panel. These conversations look into the reasons for inequality in mental health and come up with ideas for ways to increase access to mental health treatments. By sharing personal experiences, the audience can actively participate and develop a sense of empowerment and responsibility within the group.

Nurturing Your Well-Being: Taking care of your mental health should be a priority for everyone. Individuals may not have time to attend these events held throughout July, but should still make an effort to educate and better their mental health. Many may be able to improve their mental health by keeping a planner to track their daily mood and health. 

Presenting a workshop in Miami on Working with African American Families at the Miami International Child & Adolescent Mental Health Conference. Source
Presenting a workshop in Miami on Working with African American Families at the Miami International Child & Adolescent Mental Health Conference. Source 

The diverse and abundant range of activities ensures engagement for all and enhances knowledge in the community. These activities allow people and organizations to come together and tackle minority mental health issues. 

The Recognization of Minority Mental Health Month

In 2008, the United States House of Representatives officially recognized July as Minority Mental Health Month, solidifying another important month in history. The month's focus is to increase public knowledge about mental health issues that affect the minority communities. By emphasizing these specific challenges, the initiative aims to break down stigma, stereotypes, and misunderstandings that hinder individuals from seeking the help and resources they need.

As we observe Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, let us remember a quote by Bebe Moore Campbell “Knowing who you are begins in the mind”. The importance of providing support for the minority community allows for comfortability talking about their mental health issues. By recognizing the challenges faced by the minority population, we can break down barriers, combat stigmas, and create a more inclusive community for all. Together through education and accessible resources, we can make significant strides toward improving mental health for all individuals, regardless of their ethnicity. 

Have some self-care practices that you find helpful in maintaining personal well-being? Share them in the comments below!


1) Price, J. H., Khubchandani, J., McKinney, M., & Braun, R. (2012). Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Chronic Diseases of Youths and Access to Health Care in the United States. BioMed Research International, 2013.
“BIPOC Mental Health.” Mental Health America,
University of Southern California. “Understanding Barriers to Minority Mental Health Care - Blog.”, 10 May 2018,

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.