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July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Throughout the month of July, NAMI states and affiliates are encouraged to join efforts across the country to increase public awareness of mental illness among diverse communities. National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 2008 by the U.S. House of Representatives in honor of Bebe Moore Campbell, distinguished author and NAMI advocate of mental health education and support.

Raise Awareness

During July, individuals and families can raise awareness of mental illness, treatment and research in diverse communities during this month by hosting special events and partnering with local businesses and organizations.

Utilizing NAMI programs such as In Our Own Voice within community-specific settings, like cultural community centers, can provide key information about the experience of mental illness, the importance of family and peer support and the hope of recovery. Some other examples of what NAMI has provided as suggested activities for this month:

  • host an “Ask the Doctor” session with a focus on ethnopsychopharmacology and the importance cultural competence in treatment;
  • coordinate a mental health fair in a community-specific setting with free screenings and culturally and linguistically competent  information;
  • target cultural community-specific media outlets with recovery-oriented messaging.

Click here for more activity suggestions, to access helpful resources and additional information about National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

2009 National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month Events

NAMI states and affiliates across the country are gearing up for July with a variety of planned events. Some highlights:

  • NAMI National will host a variety of sessions and events covering multicultural issues including a Town Hall meeting in honor of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month during the NAMI 2009 Convention, July 6-9, in San Francisco.
  • NAMI Urban Los Angeles is planning a wealth of activities including a Veterans of Color Health and Wellness Fair, a ”Color of Justice” symposium and a quilting bee in honor of Bebe Moore Campbell, a founding member of the affiliate. Visit the NAMI Urban Los Angeles Web site for more information.
  • NAMI Tennessee will be hosting a Native American Mental Health Summit in late July as part of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Click here for more information.
  • The National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health (NNED) will host a Webinar on July 14 in partnership with the NAMI Multicultural Action Center. The Webinar will celebrate National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month by featuring presentations on how individuals across the country are working to raise mental health awareness among diverse communities. Visit the NNED Web site for further details and to register.

About Bebe Moore Campbell

Bebe Moore Campbell was an accomplished author, advocate, co-founder of NAMI Urban Los Angeles and national spokesperson who passed away in November 2006.

She received NAMI's 2003 Outstanding Media Award for Literature for the book Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry, written especially for children, about a young girl who learns how to cope with her mother's bipolar illness. In 2005, her novel 72-Hour Hold focused on an adult daughter and a family's experience with the onset of mental illness. It helped educate Americans that the struggle often is not just with the illness, but with the health care system as well.

Campbell advocated for mental health education and support among individuals with mental illness and their families. National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was created in her honor to carry out the goal of creating mental health awareness and eliminating stigma among diverse communities.