top of page

July 2024 is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

When you are struggling with your mental health, it is easy to feel isolated and alone. Breaking through the stigma and shame that is often associated with a mental health diagnosis to get treatment is critical in recovery. Unfortunately, in many minority communities, there is a distrust of the healthcare system, and there can be additional barriers to finding culturally-responsive care, or care in a native language other than English.

During the month of July, it is a time to raise awareness of the challenges that many individuals face when accessing mental healthcare. By shining a light on the disparities that minority communities face when accessing mental healthcare, we can advocate for change. The more each one of us speaks up and breaks the stigma against mental healthcare, we can all do our part to create mental health equity for everyone!

According to the Office of Minority Health,

This July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) is focusing on improving mental health outcomes for racial and ethnic minority and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities through its 2024 theme Be the Source for Better Health: Improving Health Outcomes Through Our Cultures, Communities, and Connections. This theme calls on each of us to better understand how the unique environments, cultures, histories, and circumstances (known as social determinants of health, or SDOH) of racial and ethnic minority and AI/AN populations impact their mental health. 

Understandably, there are many people in minority communities that are distrustful of the mental health system. Not all therapists are trained to be culturally sensitive in their treatment approaches, and this can leave those seeking treatment feeling alienated.

Having a therapist that understands your unique needs and situation is critical in improving mental health outcomes. It's hard to think of a therapist as a partner in your healthcare if you don't resonate with their treatment approaches.

Finding a therapist that is a good fit can be a daunting task at times. If you are sent to a therapist that isn't a good fit for you, it can be difficult to speak up and let them know that things aren't working. It can be even more difficult to ask to be referred to someone else. This leaves many people falling through the cracks of the mental health system; many people who have a bad experience with one therapist will be unwilling to try again with someone else.

In order to help break the stigma around receiving mental health services, the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants suggests the following steps:

  • Break the stigma of mental health by promoting open dialogue, challenging stereotypes, and promoting awareness and education about mental health and seeking support.

  • Increase representation and encourage diversity within the mental health field by recruiting and supporting mental health professionals from BIPOC communities.

  • Develop and implement culturally responsive or relevant healing practices that provide a holistic approach to healing and integrate cultural and historical knowledge, spirituality, and traditional healing techniques and practices into mental health programming and interventions. Culturally responsive services recognize the importance of BIPOC clients identifying sources of trauma and systems of oppression. In addition, culturally responsive healing is grounded in empowerment and collectivism and evolves through the processes of resilience, resistance, hope, and restorative justice (French et al., 2020).

  • Community-based support plays a critical role in promoting mental health in BIPOC communities by fostering a sense of belonging and solidarity where individuals can share their experiences, seek both formal and informal support, and find comfort in shared historical and cultural values and traditions.

During the month of July, it is a great time to educate ourselves about the barriers that minorities face when receiving mental healthcare. This way, we can help to advocate for accessible mental health treatment for everyone. No one should have to struggle with mental health issues alone in silence!

To learn more, Mental Health America provides a great list of resources, as well as videos of individuals sharing their stories. They also have great sharable graphics for social media, with sample captions that you can share with your friends and family.

This July, join us in honoring the memory of Bebe Moore Campbell, an American author, journalist, teacher, and mental health advocate who worked to shed light on the mental health needs of the Black community and other underrepresented communities.
Don't forget to tag us! IG @mentalhealthamerica | X: @mentalhealtham Facebook: mentalhealthamerica | LinkedIn: mental-health-america

If you have additional topics you would like me to cover this month in regards to minority mental health, let me know in the comments!


bottom of page