Perhaps due to social media, or maybe through the tireless work of advocates and activist, mental health has become a more commonly discussed issue throughout the United States. But even with all the discussion, a lot still needs to be done. There is a continued stigma and lack of resources available to some people.
People who are part of a minority group may find that getting help for their mental illness can be harder to obtain than it is for others. Awareness to the problems that minorities face when it comes to mental health issues has become a sticking point for the U.S. House of Representatives, so much so that they have named July to be Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
It is important to remind the public that mental health issues can cross all racial boundaries and mental illness can impact all Americans regardless of race, religion, gender or sexuality.
As for the Bebe Moore Campbell connection, she was a strong advocate on the side of minority groups who struggled with mental illness, she worked tirelessly to end the stigma surrounding the issue so that these people would not be fearful of seeking the help they needed. Bebe Moore Campbell also holds the distinction of having founded the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
But there is still work to be done and there are still problems. According to research done by NAMI, there are still troubling differences with accessibility and quality of treatment options between minorities and Caucasians. There are still problems with overt racism in some cases and casual discrimination may be a factor.
There are also problems focusing on the stigma around mental health with some minority communities often having a common belief that mental health treatment doesn’t work. The stigma can also keep some from coming forward for fear of being judged by their community.
Mental illness is an issue that can affect anyone. It is important to continue to educate the general public on the importance of mental health care and it’s even more important to educate within minority communities.