National Mental Health Awareness Month

July is BIPOC Mental Health Month, formerly recognized as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Inspired by the vision and advocacy of author Bebe Moore Campbell to educate and provide tools for the overall improvement of BIPOC Mental Health and well-being of individuals and communities of color. 

On June 2, 2008, a bipartisan and bicameral Congress recognized formally recognized the month of July as Bebe Moore Campbell National MinorityMental Health Awareness Month.

As we seek to provide education and tools for the overall betterment of BIPOC mental health, we must not ignore how and where this started: in the hands of a woman wanting a better experience for her child living with mental illness. July would not be dedicated to the mental health and well-being of individuals and communities of color if it were not for the tireless work of Bebe, her loved ones, and other mental health advocates who took on this work after she passed away in 2006.

Bebe Moore Campbell was a pioneer and an author, who used storytelling to give insight into the people that deserved more of a voice – Black women, caregivers of those with mental health conditions, Black individuals living with mental health conditions, and all people of color. Over the course of her life, Bebe took on several roles, including mother, activist, writer, daughter, commentator, friend, and teacher. Bebe’s legacy continues to inspire a national movement for mental health equity. The movement continues today as we focus on the creation of a health justice ecosystem grounded in effective care, universal compassion, cultural humility, and the use of appropriate mental health interventions instead of harmful criminal legal interventions.

A new analysis report from KFF found that suicide death rates increased by 12 percent in the decade from 2010 to 2020 — with death rates rising fastest among people of color, younger individuals, and people who live in rural areas. Among people of color, the highest increase in suicide death rates was among Black people (43% increase), followed by American Indian or Alaska Natives (41%), and Hispanic people (27%). As of 2020, American Indian and Alaska Native people had the highest suicide death rate, at 23.9 per 100,000 people – substantially higher than the rate for White people (16.8 per 100,000 people). Suicide death rates for Black, Hispanic, and Asian and Pacific Islander people were all less than half the rate for White people. In response to this crisis, on July 16, 2022, the Federal government will launch a newly mandated 988, which will be available to all landline and cellphone users. This three-digit number will provide access to over 200 local and state funded crisis hotline networks and centers. 988 callers experiencing Mental Health and/or Suicidal crises will be connected to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline where they’ll receive access to a crisis counselor, receive counseling, referrals, resources, and in some cases, mobile crisis unit in areas where it is available. To learn more about this report and the new 988 number, click here.