July, designated as Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in 2008, continues to bring awareness to the unique struggles that underrepresented groups face in regard to mental illness in the U.S.
And for the record, mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender or identity. Anyone can experience the challenges of mental illness regardless of their background. What’s more disconcerting is the fact that background and identity can make access to mental health treatment much more difficult. National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was established to begin changing this.
Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. Taking on the challenges of mental health conditions, health coverage and the stigma of mental illness requires all of us. In many communities, these problems are increased by less access to care, cultural stigma and lower quality care.
While the term “minority” is traditionally associated with racial, ethnic, or cultural minorities within the U.S., Mental Health America (MHA) is focused on expanding this term to include individuals from a wide-range of marginalized and underserved communities, including those who may identify as part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum, refugee and immigrant groups, religious groups and others who are often overlooked.
By making the term more inclusive the MHA hopes to broaden thinking and underscore the need to address mental health issues within a unique lens while integrating varied needs of diverse communities.
This year, their campaign, #DepthOfMyIdentity, serves as a means to challenge the negative perceptions minority groups receive and highlight the depth beyond one’s perceived identity.
For more information, go to www.mentalhealthamerica.net.
Compiled by Olivia Boyd, WI Intern