In 2008, the US House of Representatives established July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This observance aims to improve access to mental health treatment and services for multicultural communities through increased public awareness. Visit National Alliance for Mental Illness’ (NAMI) to learn more and to get resources to take part in raising awareness in your community.
During National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in July, the HHS Office of Minority Health will join partners at the federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial levels to help raise awareness about mental illness and its effects on racial and ethnic minority populations. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
- Over 70% of Black/African American adolescents with a major depressive episode did not receive treatment for their condition.
- Almost 25% of adolescents with a major depressive episode in the last year were Hispanic/Latino.
- Asian American adults were less likely to use mental health services than any other racial/ethnic groups.
- In the past year, nearly 1 in 10 American Indian or Alaska Native young adults had serious thoughts of suicide.
- In the past year, 1 in 7 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander adults had a diagnosable mental illness.
Despite advances in health equity, disparities in mental health care persist. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. are less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to use community mental health services, more likely to use emergency departments, and more likely to receive lower quality care. Poor mental health care access and quality contribute to poor mental health outcomes, including suicide, among racial and ethnic minority populations.
The HHS Office of Minority Health encourages all our partners to educate their community about the importance of improving access to mental health care and treatment and to help break down other barriers such as negative perceptions about mental illness.
For more mental health resources, click here.