Author: Racheal Mosimann
July is BIPOC mental health awareness month. Originally founded by Bebe Moore Campbell in 2008, this month is to bring awareness to the mental health of those a part of the black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) community. To understand the importance and benefits of this month, it is essential to speak to those who are a part of that community.
Marquas Althouse, HR recruiter for Valeo Behavioral Healthcare, has experience in the mental health field and is a part of the BIPOC community. Marquas has been at Valeo for 15 years. He started as a Mental Health Technician, then worked in the crisis center, eventually moving to Supportive Employment services as a Work Force Development Specialist and now is working in the HR department as a HR Recruiter. Marquas discussed the importance of BIPOC mental health month, stating, “Awareness is important, the more information you have about something the better choices you can make in regards to it.”
Althouse continued by explaining, “I believe education about services is important as well. I would like to see service options expand to accommodate different individual’s preferences. Discrete options, telehealth and more outpatient options for people who want help but may not want to go in person to a facility. I think this could also help increase BIPOC Mental Health services.”
While mental health treatment should be accessible for everyone and specific to individual needs, there are some that have barriers in accessing or maintaining treatment. As someone who has worked in the mental health field, Marquas identified that, “We need to work together to discuss and educate each other about Mental Health and services. We need to promote Mental Health Services in the BIPOC community. We need to provide easy access to information and affordable care. We need more BIPOC representative in Mental Health to be visible and speak out about mental health and services; and be a liaison for the BIPOC community. I believe all of these things would help with progression of decreasing barriers to access services.”
Although there are barriers, it is essential that anyone who needs it is able to get help when they need it. BIPOC Mental Health month is a way to bring awareness to improve the lives of those a part of the BIPOC community. As someone in the mental health field who is also a part of the BIPOC community, Marquas encourages those in this community who need help to get help. “Mental Health is important and we must take our Mental Health serious. It is important to take the time to educate yourself and your children about Mental Health. Being able to identify when it is time to ask for help is important. When an emotion/mood, thinking or behavior has a major effect on your daily functions it may be time to consider professional help. Disrupting the negative view on reaching out for help is a key factor in changing the narrative.”
If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out.
Valeo Behavioral Health Care
400 SW Oakley Ave. (785) 233-1730