BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month
What is BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month?
BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed each July since 2008 to bring awareness of the unique struggles that underrepresented groups face regarding mental illness in the United States. Formerly known as Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, ‘Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month’ has announced the change to BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month to better represent the underserved communities of Blacks, Indigenous People, and People of Color.
This change of language is a very important step in creating an influence of prioritizing individualistic identity culture, without continued confinement of a group of people in a category. The term ‘minority’ emphasizes a power differential that exists and divides our culture to either the powerful ‘majority’ or the powerless, ‘minority’. It is a way to define the status of the individuals by calling it the minority culture. The separation of ‘Black and Indigenous’ culture is also an important aspect to consider due to the distinct challenges that these cultures face aside and in addition to other barriers.
Why do we observe BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month?
Communities of BIPOC cultures face extra burdens and issues when getting care for mental health. From the latest Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) report of 2018, on access to care from 2000 to 2017:
Blacks, American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs), and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (NHPIs) received worse care than Whites for about 40% of quality measures.
Hispanics received worse care than Whites for about 35% of quality measures.
Asians received worse care than Whites for 27% of quality measures
Furthermore, the Infographic from Mental Health America also highlights the huge ratio of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities facing difficulties in need of mental health.
Included in their details highlight:
LGBTQ+ people are were more likely than non-LGBTQ+ people to screen positive or at-risk across all screens.
Multicultural people were the most likely to screen positive or at-risk for alc/substance use disorders, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and psychosis.
Native and Indigenous people were more likely to screen positive or at-risk for bipolar disorder and PTSD.
BIPOC communities and individuals are dealing with micro-aggressions, profiling, and confrontations that add to their stress and trauma. Having an underlying fear in public places and having minor anxiety responses are daily experiences of BIPOC that affects physical and mental health.
During this time of isolation and movement towards awareness, it is normal for you to be triggered with trauma symptoms, anxiety, depressive moods, anger, grief, and overwhelmingness. If you identify as BIPOC and are looking for mental and emotional support, you deserve to be heard and received by professionals that are sensitive and competent in discussing race, politics, and other issues that are causing you distress.
Here is a list of resources and directories for BIPOC Mental Health:
The Safe Place App