Since 2008, when Congress established July as the Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, we at Families for Depression Awareness have used the occasion to highlight the need to both promote public awareness of mental health conditions among communities of color and improve access to mental health care treatment for members of minority groups. Ms. Moore Campbell was an author, mental health advocate, and significant figure in the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

At Families for Depression Awareness, we strive to reach, educate, and serve communities of color. We know that most of our supporters, volunteers, and participants are white, and we are committed to adjusting our tactics in order to involve more people of color. We have been able to make progress through our “Healing Families” project and are eager to continue that work in collaboration with organizations such as the Boston Public Schools and the Cambridge Health Alliance. Our messages — recognizing depression and bipolar disorder; knowing when and how to get help; and eliminating stigma — cross race and ethnicity, though the delivery methods may vary. In our trainings, we underscore that mood disorders affect all types of people; they do not discriminate on the basis of race, economic status, etc. The difference, though, tends to be in access to mental health care, a topic that we address frequently on our advocacy blog, Care for Your Mind.

During this National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, we urge you to learn more about how mental health is perceived and addressed among minority groups. To that end, we’ve provided a variety of resources below. We welcome your input and participation as we continue our work to help people get well and to prevent suicides.

If you would like to contribute your personal or family experiences to help diversify our family stories, please submit your information here.

Select readings and resources:

Family Stories on Families for Depression Awareness’ site
Lyn, Terrie, Vivian

Posts on Care for Your Mind site
Tackling Disparities, Achieving Equity
Five Issues Related to Minority Mental Health
Working to Dispel Stigma Among Asian Americans
Does Cultural Bipolarity Create Barriers to the Delivery of Quality Mental Health Care?
Immigration, Trauma, and the Power of Faith
Learning to Live with Bipolar Disorder

Government Resources
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health
National Institute of Mental Health Minority Health and Health Disparities Program
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health

Other Resources
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Mental Health America (infographic)
Active Minds, “10 Things You Should Know About Minority Mental Health
Young Minds Advocacy, “Fighting Stigma in Minority Communities

Realities for People of Color

“Compared with the majority population, members of racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. are less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to use community mental health services, more likely to use inpatient hospitalization and emergency rooms, and more likely to receive lower quality care.” National Institute of Mental Health Minority Health and Health Disparities Program