• Aubrey Harris

Minority Mental Health Awareness Month 2022

Minority (aka BIPOC) Mental Health Month was established in July 2008 to recognize the disproportionate levels of mental illness and inadequate treatment that exist within minority populations. In reverence, we want to discuss some of the current statistics, consequences, and outdated narratives that encompass the mental health of Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, Asian and queer people of color. The goal in highlighting these disparities is to come together as a community in search of more effective treatment and resources.

Over 41% of the U.S. population identifies as a person of color. Within the minority population, mental illness has a wide range of impact. In a 2019 census, Mental Health America gathered information on the broadened areas of alcohol/substance abuse, anxiety and depression, eating disorders, and psychosis. Within their findings, multiracial, Native/Indigenous groups, African Americans, and Asians ranked highest on the risk scale respectively. Most notably, LGBTQ+ individuals within these groups presented the highest risk for symptoms along with suicide.

These disparities impact minority groups' capacity to work, care for our families, and navigate daily responsibilities. Despite an abundance of data supporting the urgency of mental health resources, minority populations continue to face inadequate levels of accessibility to services.

Along with the ever-present systemic hurdles, minorities also face obstacles within their own communities. Although society has begun shifting toward a more affirmative mental health model, limitations are upheld through mentally and

emotionally stifling communal narratives.Through their Strength Over Silence docu-series (accessible via YouTube), NAMI strives to confront and combat cultural narratives such as the “Strong Black Woman'' trope, LGBTQA+ stigma, and the perception that mental illness equates to weakness.