Authored by: Taylor Davine, Ph.D. & Madisen Stoler, LPC

Bebe Moore Campbell was a woman who embraced vulnerability and advocated for discussions about mental health in minority communities. She was a strong proponent for communities to provide resources and support for minority groups to receive the help they need. Her drive to reduce stigma for minority groups with mental health needs stemmed from being the mother of a daughter who battled mental illness and did not feel supported by the systems and resources available.

In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution with bipartisan support to designate July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. The primary goal during July is to increase awareness and access to mental health services in marginalized communities. A report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 20 years ago showed that members of racial and ethnic minority groups have less access to services, are less likely to receive care, and have poorer quality of care compared to white individuals1. Unfortunately, there has been little progress toward closing these gaps2.

Our society often stigmatizes people with mental illness, making it difficult to speak up and ask for help when they need it. Recognizing mental health concerns in ourselves or loved ones takes awareness and willingness. Moving a step further, i.e., asking for help with mental health issues or talking openly about mental health, takes vulnerability and courage. Please join CBM in honoring Bebe Moore Campbell National Mental Health Awareness Month with a call to action.

Ways you can take action: 

  • Think about your loved ones, and the individuals in your community. If you know anyone who is struggling with their mental well-being, consider being an advocate for them–suggesting resources like NAMI.org, bringing up their challenges at their next doctor’s visit, and even sharing about your experiences getting help.
  • Stay educated on current research and information about Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health, such as https://mhanational.org/bipoc-mental-health
  • Engage with ‘Black Therapist Collective’ on Instagram
  • Start conversations with the people in your world about barriers to care, destigmatizing mental illness, racial disparities in mental health treatment, and ideas for promoting mental health in disadvantaged communities.
  • Help members of the BIPOC community seek out therapists of similar racial, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds, such as https://maryellenstrongfoundation.org/directory-black-therapists/
  • Read one of Bebe Moore Campbell’s published books or articles. Suggestions include: 72 Hour Hold (2005), Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine (1992), and Brothers and Sisters (1995).

About the Authors:

Taylor Davine, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral trainee who has worked with adolescent and adult clients. He is an avid fisherman who loves being outdoors and exploring the many rivers and lakes of Wisconsin.

Madisen Stoler, LPC works with adolescent and adult clients. She strives to empower individuals to create the changes they wish to see in their lives and the world by following their inherent wise mind and meeting themselves and others with compassion.

References: 

1Satcher, D. (2001). Mental Health: Culture, race and ethnicity – a supplement to mental health: A report of the surgeon general. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

2Mental Health Disparities: Diverse Populations. (2017, December 19). American Psychiatric Association. https://www.psychiatry.org/File%20Library/Psychiatrists/Cultural- Competency/Mental-Health-Disparities/Mental-Health-Facts-for-Diverse-Populations.pdf

Mental Health America: Bebe Moore Campbell. (n.d.). Mental Health America. https://mhanational.org/bebemoorecampbell

NAMI: Learn About Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. (n.d.). National Alliance on Mental Health. 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