July is Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Month

Today, we honor Bebe Moore Campbell for being an advocate to those individuals of the Black and underrepresented communities struggling with mental illness…

Who is Bebe Moore Campbell?

She was the author of three New York Times best sellers: Brothers and Sisters, Singing in the Comeback Choir, and What You Owe Me, which was also a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001. Her other works include the novel Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and the winner of the NAACP Image Award for literature.

She was a commentator for National Public Radio and a contributing editor for Essence magazine, and her articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today Weekend, Black Enterprises, Ebony, and numerous other publications.

Campbell founded NAMI-Inglewood— now called NAMI Urban Los Angeles— in a predominantly Black neighborhood to create a safe space for Black people to discuss mental health after having to deal with her own families unique struggles.

So this month, we honor Campbell for breaking down barriers, creating a community and dismantling a stigma surrounding mental health.

Bebe Moore Campbell’s own journey started when her daughter began battling with mental illness. She had to navigate a flawed system that prevented her daughter from finding and receiving the help she needed.

Did you know…?

  • Less than 9% of Asian adults sought mental health compared to the 18% of the general US population.
  • Black people are more likely to receive a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia when expressing symptoms related to mood disorders.
  • Only 39% of non-hispanic blacks or african american adults with mental illness received treatment in 2021
  • Black and Latinx youth are about 14% less likely than White youth to receive treatment for depression.
  • In 2018, a study found that the suicide rate of Black children 5 to 12 was nearly twice that of White children of the same age

“While everyone – all colors – everyone is affected by stigma – no one wants to say ‘I’m not in control of my mind.’

No one wants to say, ‘The person I love is not in control of [their] mind.’

But people of color really don’t want to say it because we already feel stigmatized by virtue of skin color or eye shape or accent and we don’t want anymore reasons for anyone to say, ‘You’re not good enough.’ “

Bebe Moore Campbell
-Author, Journalist, Teacher, and Mental Health Advocate

Sadly, On November 27, 2006 Bebe Moore Campbell died from brain cancer, at aged 56.

In May 2008, the US House of Representatives announced July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

May her legacy live on and inspire you to use your voice, ignite your passion for change and help shape a world where everyone’s mental health matters. Together, we can create a future that embraces diversity, uplifts marginalized communities and listens to every voice.

#ShadesofMentalHealth recognizes and celebrates the rich diversity and uniqueness within the mental health community. It encourages inclusivity, empathy and understanding while striving for more equitable and culturally competent approaches to mental health support and care. By sharing our stories and experiences, we break the silence and raise awareness about mental health in communities of color.

Share your story with us and tag @GetMeHealthcare on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

nami.org – cdc.org – rtor.org