July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Established in 2008 in honor of Bebe Moore Campbell, Minority Mental Health Awareness month was created to bring awareness to the unique mental health struggles that underrepresented groups in the U.S. experience. Anyone can experience mental health challenges, they do not discriminate based on race, age, gender or identity. At the same time, one’s background and identities can present unique experiences, specific barriers, and opportunities to get support. Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and underrepresented communities face additional barriers including structural racism, access to quality care, and cultural stigmas.
This month, Balanced You will be focusing on Mental Health America’s theme Strength in Communities. We will highlight a wide range of stories and resources including mental health support systems created by BIPOC and Queer and Trans BIPOC (QTBIPOC) communities. Traditional systems of care in the US may overlook experiences of BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled folks, and religious minorities. In contrast, alternative forms of care can harness the cultural wisdom of these communities:
- Community care refers to ways in which communities of color have provided support to each other. This can include things such as mutual aid, peer support, and healing circles.
- Self-directed care refers to an innovative practice that emphasizes that people with mental health and substance use conditions, or their representatives if applicable, have decision-making authority over services they receive.
- Culturally-based practices refer to practices that are embedded in cultures and are passed down through generations. They naturally provide resiliency and healing.
Watch for Employee News and Wellness Wednesday emails, and flyers and posters around your worksite for announcements about live events, on-demand webinars, self-care tips, and resources all month long.
Events this month
A Conversation on Burnout, Compassion Fatigue and Resiliency
All employees are invited to participate in this interactive discussion. Employees will learn to identify burnout and compassion fatigue in their own lives and learn strategies to build resiliency to help carry themselves and their community through these difficult times.
Thursday, July 8 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. | Register here
BIPOC drop-in groups
Balanced You and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) have extended the recurring drop-in sessions for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) employees on the frontline. BIPOC employees who are front-line and/or involved in the COVID-19 response are invited to join voluntary hour-long group drop-in sessions to process stress, connect with others, and share coping strategies.
Wednesdays, July 7 – September 22, 12-1 p.m.
See Balanced You blog for Zoom log-in details.
Balanced You and EAP also offer team-based drop-in groups for employees who are involved in the COVID-19 response and/or are serving as frontline employees during COVID-19. If you and your colleagues are interested in a team-based group for processing and sharing coping skills, email BalancedYou@kingcounty.gov for next steps.
Healing Circles Orientation
Balanced You is partnering with the National Compadres Network to bring healing circles to the workplace. Attend this orientation to learn more about healing circles and how becoming a circle keeper can help the work you do. Healing circles carry a purposeful acknowledgment of systemic racial trauma, stress, anger, pain, frustration, and hurt that diverse groups experience.
Healing circles can be helpful tools within the workplace to:
- Nurture connection and empathy
- Hold space for grief
- Foster safety during difficult conversations
- Create and support team agreements
- Support organizational healing
Registration details to come
Minority Mental Health Month Panel Discussion
Wednesday, July 21 | 1-2:15 p.m. | Register here
Mental Health Resources
Here are some resources to learn more and a few tools to support mental health, whether you’re seeking support for yourself or a loved one.
Mental Health Resources for Black and Brown Employees
In this video, Dr. Gloria Ngehazo, Workforce Equity Manager with Department of Human Resources highlights emotional well-being resources available to BIPOC employees through King County.
Benefits and Resources for King County employees includes
- King County Benefits
- Community Resources
- Resources specific to Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian & Pacific Islander, Religious Minorities, and LGBTQ+ communities
- Self-care tips
For any questions or more information, please contact BalancedYou@kingcounty.gov.
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