MINORITY MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH
Mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender or identity. Anyone can experience the challenges of mental illness regardless of their background. However, a person’s culture and identity can make access to mental health treatment much more difficult. Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 2008 to start changing this reality. This guide is intended to help NAMI State Organizations (NSO) and NAMI Affiliates (NA) coordinate their National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month public awareness efforts with the national office for greater impact.
About Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives designated July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in honor of the leading African American novelist and journalist, who also was a voice for individuals and families affected by mental Illness.
Bebe Moore Campbell, who died in 2006, was an accomplished author, advocate, cofounder of NAMI Urban Los Angeles and national spokesperson. She received NAMI’s 2003 Outstanding Media Award for Literature for the children’s book “Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry,” a story about a girl who learns how to cope with her mother’s
bipolar disorder. In 2005, her novel “72-Hour Hold” focused on an adult daughter and her family’s experience with the onset of mental illness. It helped educate Americans that the struggle is not just with the illness, but with the health care system as well. Campbell advocated for mental health education and support among individuals with
mental illness and their families. National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was created in her honor to carry out the goal of creating mental health awareness and eliminating stigma among diverse communities.
“Once my loved ones accepted the diagnosis, healing began for the entire family, but it took too long. It took years. Can’t we, as a nation, begin to speed up that process? We need a national campaign to destigmatize mental illness, especially one targeted toward African Americans…It’s not shameful to have a mental illness. Get treatment. Recovery is possible.”
–Bebe Moore Campbell, 2005
During the month of July, the NAMI Blog will also feature stories from diverse communities, in the typical, more structured NAMI Blog format. New posts will be added weekly. Be sure to check out the NAMI Blog at nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog and look for posts on our social media featuring quotes from our authors.
Strength Over Silence Video Series: Stories of Courage, Culture and Community
In this documentary miniseries, NAMI explores unique perspectives on mental health from the African-American and Latinx communities. Through candid and courageous stories of lived experience, these mental health champions share their journeys of resiliency and recovery. View the videos here:
Chris Hubbard, NAMI Ambassador and offensive lineman for the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns
Lorenzo Lewis, founder of The Confess Project
A.J. Mendez, NAMI Ambassador and author, former World Wrestling Entertainment professional wrestler
Jasmin Pierre, mental health advocate