July is Minority Mental Health Month
In 2008 the U.S. House of Representatives. designated July as the 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 illness.Minority Mental Health Awareness Month offering organizations of all types and sizes a wonderful opportunity to create mental health awareness in diverse communities.
Everyone is touched by mental health regardless of race, culture, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. While data shows that 1 in 4 people currently have a mental health condition only 41% of those are recieving treatment. Individuals belonging to minority racial and ethnic groups in the U.S are even less likely to get help.
Minority communities face specific issues regarding mental health, some of which include:
- Less access to treatment
- Poorer quality of care
- Higher levels of stigma
- Language barriers
- Less likely to receive treatment
These disparities in mental health care often times prevent people from getting the care and treatment that they need. Raising awareness can help to create a more efficient and healthy community where those who need help receive it.
For information on how mental health conditions impact minority populations please visit the NAMI Infographics on Multicultural Mental Health Facts.
Please take a few minutes to watch and listen to a few short stories, in their own words, of people from minority communities who are living with mental health challenges.
We have also found the NAMI Sharing Hope Booklet,
Stigma is the Great Silencer
Every day men, women and children, who are suffering from Mental Health challenges, go to great lengths to keep that a secret from others. Fear of what people will say about them keeps them silent. Fear of what people will think of them, and in some cases fear of what people may do to them reinforce the feeling that they are alone and there is no hope.
Stigma Keeps People Isolated
Room4Everyone is a mental wellbeing campaign that encourages compassion and acceptance. As people we are different, but as a community it is critical that there be room for everyone despite those differences.
Its Time To Talk About It
The fact that in any given year One-in-Four Americans meets the criteria for a diagnosable mental illness means that we all know someone who may be suffering. It may be a co-worker, classmate, friend, or family member. One-in-Four means it very well could be one of us. When someone we care for is experiencing mental health challenges, multiple people are affected. For this reason when we talk about mental illness, we are not merely talking to the One-in-Four. This is a conversation that is critical for four out of four people.
Myth vs. Fact
Myth: People with Mental Health problems are dangerous and should be avoided.
Fact: The vast majority of people with Mental Health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3%-5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are 12 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population.
Myth: People with Mental Health needs, even those who are managing their mental illness, cannot tolerate the stress of holding down a job.
Fact: People with Mental Health problems are just as productive as other employees. Employers who hire people with Mental Health problems report good attendance and punctuality as well as motivation, good work, and job tenure on par with or greater than other employees.
Myth: There is no hope for people with Mental Health problems. Once a person develops Mental Health problems, he or she will never recover.
Fact: Studies show that people with Mental Health problems get better and many recover completely. Recovery refers to the process in which people are able to live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities. There are more treatments, services, and community support systems than ever before, and they work.
Myth: I can't do anything for a person with a Mental Health problem.
Fact: Friends and loved ones can make a big difference. Only 38% of adults with diagnosable Mental Health problems and less than 20% of children and adolescents receive needed treatment. Friends and family can be important influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need by:
- Reaching out and letting them know you are available to help
- Assisting with access to mental health services
- Learning and sharing the facts about Mental Health (especially if you hear something that isn't true)
- Treating others the way you would want them to treat you