The Willough at Naples is a Florida mental health treatment facility that recognizes, honors, and celebrates minority mental health month. Our mission is to create greater access to mental health resources that Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities and other underrepresented groups can lean on in times of need. That said, let’s dive into the history of minority mental health month, including its goals, its purpose, and the steps we can all take moving forward to raise awareness for this issue.
What Is Minority Mental Health Month?
Minority mental health month is acknowledged for the entirety of July. Minority mental health month officially began in 2008 and has been celebrated annually since then. Also known as the Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, named after the activist and mental health advocate, this month-long event works to raise awareness on the lived experiences of minority groups in the United States—specifically when it comes to their mental health.
Some examples of mental health symptoms that can be significantly disruptive include:
- Persistent anxiety
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Alcohol or drug use
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Physical health concerns
Studies show that minority groups have a disadvantage when it comes to getting care for mental health. Surprisingly, less than a third of Black Americans were able to get the same access to care as white individuals in recent years. This has only gotten worse as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are several reasons behind this, including:
- Lack of funding in neighborhoods with underrepresented populations
- Stigma surrounding mental health in BIPOC communities
- Misrepresentation of mental health challenges as criminal behavior
- Criminal charges for mental health and addiction challenges
This list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the challenges that minority groups can face in accessing mental health assistance. As a result, many people in these communities, including youth of color, aren’t able to get the help that they need.
Thus, minority mental health month aims to raise awareness so that there can be better access to the necessary care. This would include services like residential programming, safe substance abuse detox, dual diagnosis treatment, and more.
Why Is Minority Mental Health Month So Important?
Clearly, there are countless barriers to mental health care for people of color in the United States. And only by recognizing these disparities can we take steps to make sure that everyone has access to the mental health support that they need. This minority mental health month, it’s important to share information on how racial and ethnic minorities do not have the same opportunities for mental health care as their white counterparts.
But more than just information spreading, there needs to be progress. Creating change is one of the biggest goals for minority mental health month. This type of change includes creating more access to mental health facilities throughout the country for BIPOC communities.
The consequences of not getting the right treatment can not only be detrimental to the social, economic, and personal growth of individuals of color but it can also be deadly. Some surprising statistics about BIPOC communities and mental health include:
- Individuals who identify with two or more races were more likely to need residential treatment services for mental health.
- Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiians, and American Indian individuals are most at risk for developing a substance use disorder, especially alcoholism.
- Suicide rates for Black people drastically increased in recent years.
- Individuals of color stated that cost of care and being unsure of the benefits of treatment were among the top reasons for not seeking out mental health assistance.
- The COVID-19 pandemic brought extra challenges for underrepresented groups to get access to mental health care, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
On top of this, individuals of color are more likely to be expelled in school settings or even criminally punished for lashing out during mental health crises. Oftentimes, this causes much more harm than good. Without the right treatment, the symptoms, and therefore the harmful behaviors, will only continue.
Moreover, research indicates that minority groups are more likely to experience long-term effects associated with mental health disorders. Things like longer periods of depression, reoccurring symptoms, and lasting health concerns are all common experiences that underrepresented individuals have.
All of this goes to show that raising awareness during minority mental health month is needed—but it should go beyond that as well. The mental health crisis in BIPOC communities cannot continue, especially when the right type of mental health treatment is proven to be effective in improving people’s quality of life overall.
Providing Psychiatric Care for Everyone in Florida
It is our goal at The Willough at Naples to offer top-quality care for all people who are struggling with mental health conditions. We understand that minority mental health month is just one moment out of many more that are needed to shine a light on how providing more accessible mental health resources can make a life-changing difference for BIPOC communities. Some of the resources that we are proud to provide include:
- Psychological evaluations
- Cognitive screenings
- Medication management
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Individual counseling sessions
- Group work
- Recreational therapy
- Discharge planning
Now more than ever, it is essential that we work toward raising awareness on the impact of mental health. Unfortunately, experiencing mental health symptoms can leave people feeling isolated, especially for individuals in minority groups who aren’t sure how, where, or when to seek out treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with the symptoms of a mental health condition such as depression, addiction, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or others, rest assured that help is out there.
Reach out to our admissions counselors at 800-722-0100 for more information on the treatment opportunities at The Willough at Naples. Alternatively, you can submit a confidential contact form with your inquiries. However you choose to get in touch, know that you’re taking a step in the right direction. Together and with a fight for awareness, we can help you find long-lasting peace within recovery.