July is BIPOC Mental Health Month. Established in 2008 in honor of Bebe Moore Campbell, the formally recognized National Minority Mental Health Awareness month was created to bring awareness to the unique mental health struggles that underrepresented groups in the U.S. experience. Bebe Moore Campbell was a pioneer and an author, who used storytelling to give insight into the people that deserved more of a voice – Black women, caregivers of those with mental health conditions, Black individuals living with mental health conditions, and all people of color.
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.
BIPOC Mental Health Month Toolkit
This year, Mental Health America (MHA) has compiled a toolkit that recognizes the unique mental health experiences of BIPOC communities. Mental Health America states: “While there are stories of resilience born out of oppression and persecution, there is immeasurable strength in each of these cultures. In an increasingly diversified America, we acknowledge the specificity of individual and group experiences and how it relates to their beliefs and well-being.”
The toolkit focuses on specific cultural groups:
- American Indian/Alaska Native
- Arab/Middle Eastern/Muslim/South Asian
- Asian/Pacific Islander
- Black/African American
In this toolkit, you can find information and resources for specific BIPOC communities, calls to action, worksheets, and general resources for BIPOC individuals.
Tips: Talking to your provider about Mental Health
- Advocate for yourself. Share your needs and desires with your providers.
- Ask for providers who are culturally responsive and have experience working with individuals of similar identities to you.
- Ask your provider to document everything that is discussed, including any denials of treatments that you want.
- Seek combinations of mental health care that is right for your unique needs.
- Avoid mental health care due to shame.
- Feel obligated to choose a Western model of mental health care.
- Exclusively use one type of mental health care without exploring all options that feel right to you.
Mental Health Resources
In this guide, Balanced You has compiled a directory of employee benefit and community resources for mental health, specific to Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian & Pacific Islander, Religious Minorities, and LGBTQ+ communities. View guide here.