For the month of July, I wanted to raise awareness around National Minority Mental Health Awareness month. Last year, I did an interview with my resident mental health pro, Dr. Angela Clack. Amongst other things we discussed, she told us about the origins of the awareness month. You can watch our interview here. And check out her new book on narratives from women of color talking about trauma and depression.
Since I will be doing interviews all next month, I decided that I wanted to do a campaign just sharing my random thoughts about mental health throughout this month. I wanted to share a day in the life of someone with lived experience, aka a peer advocate. I wanted to raise awareness about some of the ways I’ve experienced mental health prevention, treatment, and ongoing maintenance as an African American woman. I invited other POCs in my social network to join me in creating awareness by sharing their stories, experiences, resources, etc. about mental health for this particular campaign.
Why do this? Because the more people talk about mental health in our communities, the more it becomes a commonplace topic. This is how we fight the stigma. And when stigma is obliterated, people don’t feel ashamed to seek help. If more people seek help and find that there isn’t equal access to care, we come together and create demand that needs to be supplied. Ya dig?
The reason this is so important is because there are many disparities in seeking and getting mental health treatment as a minority in the U.S.. Heck, even a quick Google search led me to organizations that are NOT founded by or led by the people this awareness month was made for, when of course they exist. I’ve made plenty of complaints about the lack of minorities having a seat at the table, but I won’t go there right now, (another topic for another day). So even our own voices and wisdom aren’t being centered, but rather tokenized to fit inside a paradigm. Which further proves we still have a ways to go with dismantling a broken healthcare system. But first, we need to create awareness. And many times that awareness starts at home within our own selves, conversations amongst each other, with our family members, with our friends, our co-workers, our spiritual community leaders and members and anyone else in our network who still doesn’t get it. There are too many people who still deny that mental health disorders are very real, and we cannot afford to keep sweeping them, and how they affect our lives either directly or indirectly, under the rug. It hurts us, it tears apart our families, it breaks down and disconnects our communities.
So to offset that, we share. We share our truths, we share our resources. We encourage one another to find strength, hope, and healing.
Below you’ll find a few captured moments from several awareness campaigns this month…
My Announcement Post
No More Martyrs hosted their annual Minority Mental Health Awareness Summit
From My Network
H.M. (like myself) fully appreciates Mystic Soul Project and what their existence means to their mental health. #support
Trudean talks about issues and raises donations every year to support her local community check our her current fundraiser.
Karen shares about two of my loves, mental health and the arts.
Vannessa shares about mental health in the media.
Until Next Time…Peace, Love, and Wellness!
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