AMCD Recognizes Minority Mental Health Month
July was designated as Minority Mental Health Month in 2008 to bring awareness to the unique struggles that underrepresented groups face in regard to mental illness in the United States (US). In May of that year, the US House of Representatives announced July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Albert Wynn [D-MD] and cosponsored by a large bipartisan group to achieve two goals:
- Improve access to mental health treatment and services and promote public awareness of mental illness.
- Name a month as the Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month to enhance public awareness of mental illness and mental illness among minorities.
About Bebe Moore Campbell
Bebe Moore Campbell was an author, advocate, co-founder of National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) Urban Los Angeles and national spokesperson, who passed away in November 2006.
She received NAMI’s 2003 Outstanding Media Award for Literature. Campbell advocated for mental health education and support among individuals of diverse communities.
In 2005, inspired by Campbell’s charge to end stigma and provide mental health information, longtime friend Linda Wharton-Boyd suggested dedicating a month to the effort.
The duo got to work, outlining the concept of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and what it would entail. With the support of the D.C. Department of Mental Health and then-mayor Anthony Williams, they held a news conference in Southeast D.C., where they encouraged residents to get mental health checkups.
The group researched and obtained the support of Representatives Albert Wynn [D-MD] and Diane Watson [D-CA], who co-signed legislation to create an official minority mental health awareness month.
Minority Mental Health Month
While the term ‘minority’ is traditionally associated with racial, ethnic, women, LGBTQ+ populations or cultural minorities within the US, AMCD wishes to partner with other ACA divisions and include individuals from a wide range of marginalized and underserved communities, including refugees and immigrant groups, religious groups, and others who are often overlooked.
By being inclusive, we are broadening our way of thinking and underscoring the need to address mental health issues with a unique lens while integrating the varied needs of diverse communities while also addressing the specific need of all groups. Through our efforts, we aim to shed light on the multitude of mental health experiences within these communities.
Within ACAConnect, on Twitter @AMCD2018 and Facebook @MulticulturalCounselingandDevelopment, we ask individuals to share their stories using #AMCDMyStoryMyWay to shed light on the way that diverse communities perceive, narrate, communicate, and address mental health and mental illness.
Throughout the month of July, we are asking you to create and share content (e.g., a video, a series of videos, a poem, notes, or even GIFs) responding to the Guiding Questions provided below. These questions were developed to help you think about your experience and your story. We ask that you use these questions as prompts as you develop and share content.
Help us and others understand your lived experience(s) and how we can all do better to address mental health and mental illness in our communities.
- What are important parts of your identity?
- What keeps (or kept) you from talking about your experience?
- If and when you were struggling, how did you know you something wasn’t right
- How did those around you respond?
- What do you do to take care of yourself?
- What would you tell others who may share your experience?
To allow individuals the freedom to feel comfortable in sharing their stories without disclosing their identity, we welcome anonymous submissions.
If you are interested in sharing your story or experience anonymously, feel free to email us at 1972AMCD@gmail.com with the subject noted as “AMCDMMHM Submission.”
We will use your submitted content and develop social media posts without noting your identity.
What information should I share in my post?
Let people know your background so that we can learn about the various experiences and lives of the people that are part of our community.
Feel free to tell us and others as little or as much as you want to share. We provided the five questions to help guide your thoughts. We will be pulling from social media throughout the month to highlight different stories.
How do I know if my story is worth sharing?
Each person and each story is important. During #AMCDMinorityMentalHealth Month, we want to ensure that the voices of people who are oftentimes deemed as “other” or “not important” are brought into the limelight. Tell us your story so that others who may be struggling know that there are people out there who may share their experience.
What do I need to know if I am going to record a video?
We ask that you keep your video to 2 minutes max. We know that can be hard to do, so think about sharing videos throughout the month by using 1 question per week.
We are not looking for professional videos, but we do ask that you shoot your video in landscape mode. Be sure that you are in a quiet place with good lighting, so your voice is clear, and we can see your face.
While AMCD’s mission is to address the mental health needs of ethnic, racial and marginalized populations daily throughout the year, we wish to support July and Minority Mental Health Month and thank you for your support in this campaign.
Look for additional resources to address and close the mental health disparities gap throughout July. We thank you.
Leading with you in service,
Shon D. Smith, Ed.D.
President, AMCD 2018-2019