BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month
A note from CSS Clinical Director, Dr. Jill Hinton
This month was first recognized in 2008 as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. We are honoring her work through recognizing BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Mental Health Awareness Month. As a START community, we recognize that language is important in our work and that the way we talk about things can influence the way we think about them. Mental Health America explains why it makes sense to avoid the use of the term ‘minority’ in this way:
The continued use of “minority or marginalized” sets up BIPOC communities in terms of their quantity instead of their quality and removes their personhood. The word “minority” also emphasizes the power differential between “majority” and “minority” groups and can make BIPOC feel as though “minority” is synonymous with inferiority. Though “minority” and “marginalized” may continue to be used in academic spaces, the words the mental health community uses need to change in order to help.
- (Mental Health America, 2020)
So this month, Center for START Services joins other leaders in the mental health field to recognize BIPOC Mental Health Month to promote awareness about the unique struggles faced by oppressed groups in addressing mental health in the United States. Racism and discrimination elevate stress and mental health challenges and recent events are creating collective trauma experiences that need to be addressed. Limited access, racial and cultural stigma, provider bias, and lack of culturally competent treatment all contribute to disparities in addressing mental health.
As a START network, let us be ever aware of the cultural factors that influence mental health as we continue our work of promoting well-being, resiliency, and healing.