July Is Minority Mental Health Month

Here’s why it matters and how you can show support

 

Why do we need “Minority Mental Health Month”?

Even though most of the things we need to be mentally healthy are universal — like safe housing, supportive relationships and good health care — a one-size-fits-all approach to mental health care just isn’t enough.

Image credit: NAMI.org

We know that people from ethnic and cultural communities are, in general, less likely to receive necessary mental health services and those who are in treatment often receive poorer-quality care.

 

Why the difference in outcomes?

Many factors likely play a role, including socioeconomic differences as well as the fear of experiencing a double burden of discrimination based on one’s race and mental health condition.

Those who do seek help also may have difficulty obtaining mental health care from professionals who speak their language and/or understand and respect their cultural values.

- Final Report of the President’s New Freedom Commission for Mental Health, 2003

What is being done about it?

New approaches to healing and supporting people in times of distress, as well as changing conversations about mental health, have been developed by California’s many ethnic and cultural communities. In addition, leaders from five of these groups (outlined by the California Reducing Disparities Project) have created resources to help change attitudes and improve mental health outcomes in a way that is meaningful to each community.

 

What can I do?

Here are five easy things you can do to help promote better mental health in all of California’s diverse communities:

  1. Raise awareness on social media. It’s easy – just share this blog, this infographic from NAMI or inspiring stories from people who have dealt with mental health issues.
  2. Share resources specifically designed for people from diverse communities with family, friends or your community.
  3. Lime Green RibbonWear a lime green ribbon wherever you go and let other people know the facts about mental health and how it impacts your community.
  4. Help inspire positive conversations about mental health in your community. Take a pledge or share your story.
  5. Hosting an event that promotes mental health in a particular community? Want to get connected with others who care about this issue? Attend or list an event.

For related content:
Fresno’s Latino Community Gathers to Promote Mental Wellness
Mental Health Friendly Communities Gather to Promote Mental Wellness