Balanced You is recognizing BIPOC Mental Health Month this month and sharing some tools and resources for addressing and supporting the mental health needs of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
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.
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. BIPOC and underrepresented communities face additional barriers including structural racism, access to quality care, and cultural stigmas.
The theme of Mental Health America’s 2023 BIPOC Mental Health Campaign is Culture, Community, and Connection. Mental Health America (MHA) states: “Our lives are deeply intertwined with the environments around us. Who and what we are surrounded by impacts our mental health and overall wellness. In particular, Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) populations are faced with disproportionate amounts of historical trauma and displacement that have challenged how these communities remain sustainable and continue to thrive. Despite countless attempts to take away power, erase histories, and diminish future successes, BIPOC communities continue to prosper.”
BIPOC Mental Health Month Toolkit
This year, MHA has compiled a toolkit that recognizes the unique mental health experiences of BIPOC communities. 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.
Balanced You partner Wellspring has also created a list of mental health services and organizations for the BIPOC community.
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.