July is BIPOC mental health month. The event was established in 2008 as the Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in an effort to create awareness of the unique struggles faced by underrepresented groups in the United States. Campbell was an author, teacher, and mental health advocate with a mission to shine a light on the mental health issues of minority communities.
BIPOC mental health month seeks to continue the visionary work of Campbell by developing public education campaigns that bring awareness to as many people as possible while also addressing the needs of BIPOC.
Traditional Roadblocks Keeping BIPOC from Receiving Treatment
According to the Mental Health America organization, over 15 million BIPOC have reported they struggle with mental health issues. Unfortunately, many of these people face roadblocks to seeking the treatment they so desperately need.
Far too often people in the BIPOC community refuse to seek help for their mental health issues because they belong to a culture that has a social stigma surrounding therapy. For instance, in some BIPOC communities, admitting you need help means you are “crazy” or “weak.”
Lack of Access
Often, people within the BIPOC community do not speak English. If these people live in smaller, rural communities in the United States, they may not have access to clinicians who speak a foreign language. In addition, according to the American Psychological Association, 86% of psychologists in the United States are White. With so few BIPOC people becoming therapists themselves, it can then be hard for others within their community to find a therapist who understands their culture and specific challenges.
Lack of Resources
Individuals within the BIPOC community often face a lack of resources to even begin learning about mental health and the specific issues they may be facing. One such resource is the National Alliance of Mental Illness. If you are a member of the BIPOC community, please share this resource with others.
If you or someone you know is a part of the BIPOC community and suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, or any other mental health disorder and would like to explore treatment options, please reach out to me.
Chelsy A. Castro, JD, MA, AM, LCSW