BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Is Essential

BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month (July 2021)

In the month of July, we raise awareness for the importance of BIPOC mental health (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). Originally designated as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, BIPOC Mental Health Month highlights the unique mental health challenges and needs of historically disenfranchised or oppressed racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) experience a broad spectrum of ongoing discrimination, oppression, and inequity rooted in America’s colonialist history, all of which foster both collective and individual trauma in those communities.

“In May of 2008, the US House of Representatives announced July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month” (NAMI, n.d.). As a tireless activist for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Los Angeles chapter, Bebe’s words spoke truth to the stigma and inequalities faced by members of the BIPOC community seeking mental health. She enlightened us with truth about not waiting too late to seek help because something as integral as addressing our mental health can play a role in the grander schema of changing entire communities.

Statistics show that the rates of youth with mental health challenges continue to increase in the San Francisco Bay Area. Minority and oppressed populations experience the highest numbers of mental health symptoms due to systemic and societal discrimination. We have seen higher numbers of unemployment and poverty with 19% of Black/African American, 7% of Latinx, and 4% Asian children living in poverty. Many of these families in San Francisco continue to climb the social economic ladder as parents who are working minimum wage jobs cannot afford a two-bedroom apartment. Along with income disparities, parents who are working two or more jobs and who are trying to find affordable childcare are experiencing all-time high levels of parental stress. These are just some of the risk factors associated with mental health issues;   27-30% of Latinx, Black/African Americans and 11% of Asians report needing support with mental health and drug misuse.

So, what does Edgewood do to support members of the BIPOC communities? Our commitment to becoming a commit to a trauma-informed and healing organization is crucial  towards addressing the cultural needs of  families and recognizes the often multi-generational pattern of economic, racial, and social marginalization. Additionally, we advocate and support families at a community level to ensure equal access to services and support.

National Alliance on Mental Illness. (n.d.). Learn About Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Retrieved on July 23, 2021 from https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Bebe-Moore-Campbell-National-Minority-Mental-Health-Awareness-Month/Learn-About-Bebe-Moore-Campbell-National-Minority-Mental-Health-Awareness-Month.

San Francisco Health Improvement Partnership. (2019). 2019 San Francisco Community Health Needs Assessment. Retrieved July 19, 2021, from http://www.sfhip.org/chna/sf-chna-2019/