By Mikki Burcher, Health Promotions Specialist
In 2008, Congress formally recognized July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, now called BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and persons of color) Mental Health Month. This month honors Campbell’s legacy as an author and advocate for the mental health needs of underrepresented communities and asks us to work together to address the challenges faced by BIPOC individuals to create a better future for all persons.
The BIPOC community has faced many obstacles and led the way for many societal changes through grassroots organizing, strong community bonds, and historical resiliency. However, there are still areas where progress is needed, including in mental health care.
Studies have shown that there are severe disparities in mental health outcomes for BIPOC communities. As an example, BIPOC and white populations tend to present similar rates of mental illness, yet BIPOC individuals have a higher probability of being disabled because of mental health disorders. Similarly, Black and Hispanic adults tend to have more persistent depression than white adults. Members of BIPOC communities are also often underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed, leading to improper or incomplete treatment plans.
During BIPOC Mental Health Month, and every day after, let us honor the work of Bebe Moore Campbell and support the BIPOC community by working to increase access to mental health care.
If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health challenges, professional help is available. Valeo’s Crisis Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for walk-in mental health emergencies. It is located at 400 SW Oakley Avenue. You can also call the Valeo Crisis Line, available 24 hours a day, at 785-234-3300.