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Creation of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

In May 2008 the US House of Representatives proclaimed July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Albert Wynn [D-MD] and cosponsored by a large bipartisan group, was passed in recognition that:

  • Improved access to mental health treatment and services and public awareness of mental illness are of paramount importance; and
  • An appropriate month should be recognized as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month to enhance public awareness of mental illness and mental illness among minorities.

Click here for more details and full text of resolution H. Con. Res. 134. Read NAMI's letter of support for this important resolution here.

For a narrative of the events leading up to the creation of this Awareness Month, see this article in the August 2008 issue of Recovery for All, the e-newsletter of the Multicultural Action Center. View the letter of support from a circle of Bebe's friends for the Congressional resolution.

Back to main National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month page

Highlights of Activities. 


 Video link

2012 Highlight Reel

Click the screen shot image to watch the video created with appreciation for all who joined us in ways big and small to help spread the word about National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and take action in its name in 2012.






 Yolonda Clay
Yolonda Clay of NAMI Lexington (Ky.) takes the mic at the National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month Townhall event held at the NAMI 2012 Convention in Seattle

NAMI-NNED partnership

In this fourth year NAMI has partnered with the National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health (NNED) to promote and celebrate Natonal Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, together we boosted social media participation through Facebook and Twitter and co-sponsored two webinars:

  • Planning Webinar (June): This webinar provided strategies, tips and ideas you could use to mark the month, focusing on social media-related activities and on examples of how you can take action in your community. Download the slides.
  • Celebration Webinar (July): Inspiring young advocates, Jessica Gimeno from the Balanced Mind Foundation and writer and activist Melody Moezzi, will share their personal experiences of recovery and will provide tips and strategies others could use on their own journeys to recovery. Download the slides.

Around the country

  • The first annual No Shame Day, sponsored by The Siwe Project, was held July 2 to promote candid discussions about mental illness stigma, diagnoses and treatment options. See Melissa Harris-Perry's video coverage on MSNBC, which aired July 14.
  • Possibly the grooviest recognition of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month to date—an attempt of record-breaking Soul Train dance in Harlem to honor its creator, Don Cornelius, who died from suicide earlier this year.
  • NAMI Boulder County celebrated National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month for the first time and accepted proclamations from the mayors of Boulder and Longmont, Colo., the two biggest cities in Boulder County. Additionally, a community breakfast event provided a panel discussion around NAMI New Jersey's documentary  Documenting our Presence. Board member, Elicia Goodsoldier, led efforts and was featured in promotion of the month on local radio station, KNGU.
  • The National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health partnered with M3 to develop and release a Spanish-language version of WhatsMyM3, a quick and anonymous tool that screens for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. The release was planned for recognition and support of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
  • NAMI Contra Costa celebrated National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in partnership with S.P.I.R.I.T. Program with an Arts and Talent Show highlighting information about mental illness, resources in the community and how to combat stigma. A separate event, co-hosted with NAMI East Contra Costa, provided an informational community forum for Spanish speakers.
     Prayer breakfast
    NAMI Metro Houston's prayer breakfast
  • NAMI Lexington celebrated the first gubernatorial proclamation of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month by Governor Steve Beshear.  NAMI  collaborated with UK Migrant Farm-workers with Disabilities Employment Partnership, Consolidated Baptist Ministerio Hispano and Monte de Sion Ministerio Hispano, Nicholasville UMC to provide a community-wide bilingual presentation, “Sharing Hope to Cope,” given by family members, individuals living with mental illness and faith leaders as well as provide a bilingual Suicide Prevention QPR Gatekeeper training. 
  • NAMI Meridian and NAMI Mississippi hosted the third annual “Voices of Hope” program in partnership with Choctaw Behavioral Health, Alliance Health Center and Weems Community Mental Health Center, addressing minority mental health perspectives of parents, caregivers, service providers and advocates. According to panelist, Tonya Tate, executive director of NAMI Mississippi: “Experiences of mental illness vary across cultures. There is a need for improved cultural awareness and competence in the health care and mental health workforce.” The panel also included Marshia Moody, Family Involvement Specialist at NFusionX, and Toniya Lay (Choctaw), a therapist at Choctaw Behavioral Health. 
  • NAMI Metropolitan Houston hosted a Minority Health Awareness Prayer Breakfast, providing a free meal to interested members of the community to feature information and key messages of mental health recovery and support at a downtown Houston church.
  • The fifth annual Minority Mental Health Awareness breakfast was held by NAMI Augusta (Ga.), hosted by Helen Blocker-Adams with theme “Relationships Strengthen Teamwork.” The program aims were to bring together legislators, educators, mental health,  healthcare and business community to focus attention on mental health among African-Americans and to share information about Hope IS Possible, a self-help talk therapy support program for women, especially single mothers who have experienced trials and hardships to which event proceeds were directed.
  • The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services - Office of Cultural and Linguistic Competence held a second annual Media Contest for Minority Mental Health Awareness.  Those sponsoring, hosting or participating in activities throughout the Commonwealth during the month of July were invited to compete by submitting photos or videos of the activity for a chance to win prizes and be highlighted in various publications.
     Jessica Gimeno
    "At the intersection of racism and stigma, there lies a funny thing called hope" --Jessica Gimeno on the NAMI Blog

Around the web


NAMI San Francisco member, LaVaughn
King takes the mic at the 2011 National
Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
Town Hall event at the NAMI 2011
annual convention in Chicago, July 7 
  • NAMI's Multicultural Action Center was named the National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health (NNED) Partner of the Month for July 2011 in honor of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. In order to highlight pockets of excellence across the country the NNED selects an organization to highlight once a month.
  • A National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month town hall networking event was held at the 2011 NAMI Annual Convention for the third year as NAMI’s kick-off celebration of the month. Participants were provided with information about the month and resources available through NAMI. Many stood to express personal enthusiasm for the meaning of this special month and shared local plans for events and activities taking place throughout July. 
  • NAMI released a new set of multilingual resources on Asian American and Pacific Islander mental health issues. Each fact sheet of this series is available in English, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.
  • Members of NAMI's Diversity and Inclusion Work Group provided their personal experiences and perspectives on National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Their stories were shared during the town hall networking event at the NAMI Convention in Chicago as well as through Recovery for All.
  • NAMI Lexington (Ky.) hosted a variety of events throughout the month including an informational workshop for Latino immigrant families, a mini conference featuring the Sharing Hope program and an annual block party—this year as a reunion of NAMI Family-to-Family graduates. Affiliate leader, Yolonda Clay, appeared as a guest on the local TV news to spread the word about National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
  • NAMI New Jersey provided free community screenings of its 2009 documentary, Documenting Our Presence, throughout the state during July, promoted through leaders of its multicultural outreach programs, AACT-NOW!, CAMHOP, SAMHAJ and NAMI NJ en Español. The award-winning documentary provides a compassionate, hopeful look at the experiences of people of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds who are affected by serious mental illness.
  • The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, NAMI Virginia and Colaborando Juntos sponsored a National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month Media Contest. Hosts and participants of activities throughout the state promoting awareness of mental illness, prevention, treatment and research in diverse communities were eligible for awards for submitting photos, videos and other creative media featuring their activities. Winners will be announced and awarded in August.
  • The National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health (NNED) and NAMI presented a webinar, "Empowering Our Voices: Developing & Sustaining Multicultural Consumer Networks," that highlighted two networks formed by the Center for Mental Health Services and the four minority behavioral health organizations as examples of current multicultural consumer efforts taking place nationwide. The National Latino Behavioral Health Association and the National Leadership Council on African American Behavioral Health shared highlights from their efforts to date.
  • Flipswitch, the portal of information for teens and 20-somethings sponsored by The Balanced Mind Foundation (formerly Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation), featured a series of Imageshort podcasts about minorities and mental health throughout July:

    • Tribute to Bebe Moore Campbell with reenactments of 2 scenes from her book 72-Hour Hold
    • Hanh’s Story (part 1 and 2): the daughter of Vietnamese-American immigrants discusses how both cultures impact living with bipolar disorder
    • Victor’s Story (part 1 and 2): a Puerto Rican pastor discusses his family’s experience with depression and bipolar disorder
    • Melody’s Story (part 1 and 2): an Iranian-American Muslim author and attorney busts stigma of bipolar disorder and challenges Islamophobia 


  • The National Asian American and Pacific Islander Mental Health Association will host a Town Hall Meeting in San Jose California in collaboration with the Santa Clara County Mental Health Department, Asian Americans for Community Involvement, Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. and the California Reducing Disparities Project.  Congressman Mike Honda and Assemblyman Mike Eng will address the impact of mental health of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities in California.
  • NAMI Lexington (Ky.) enjoyed lots of music, dancing, food and fun while hosting a “Block Party” celebration in early July with African American and Hispanic/Latino faith communities from the Lexington area. Members of NAMI Lexington’s Multicultural Action Committee have appeared on a local educational television program and Christian radio network to promote their efforts and will run PSAs through local radio stations throughout July.
  • The Cultural Competence Committee of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services and the Multicultural Committee of NAMI New York State will be co-hosting a teleconference discussion of Bebe Moore Campbell’s 72 Hour Hold in honor of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
  • NAMI New Jersey En Español, led by Martha Silva, recipient of NAMI's 2010 Multicultural Outreach Award, is hosting a Spanish-language informational seminar for the Latino/Hispanic community in collaboration with the National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health and New Jersey Mental Health Institute, Inc. The seminar will feature expert speakers on the topics of mental health concerns related to aging as well as mental/physical/emotional wellbeing.
  • The Council of the District of Columbia unanimously approved the “Bebe Moore Campbell District of Columbia Minority Mental Health Awareness Month Resolution" of 2010. The resolution was introduced by At-Large Councilmember Michael A. Brown and co-introduced by Councilmembers Harry Thomas and David Catania. The resolution was announced at a  community reception held in mid-July which included friends and family of Bebe Moore Campbell, DC officials and mental health advocates.

Back to main National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month page

Related Files

Kentucky 2012 Proclamation (PDF File)
National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month 2012 in Review_screenshot
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