BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month, also known as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, was formed in 2008 and takes place every July to spread awareness about the unique mental health challenges that underrepresented communities face surrounding mental health illness. Mental health does not discriminate, and all people, regardless of their background or identity, can develop a mental illness. However, BIPOC individuals often experience greater disparities when facing mental health conditions. The American Psychological Association (APA) states, “Racial/ethnic, gender, and sexual minorities often suffer from poor mental health outcomes due to multiple factors including inaccessibility of high-quality mental health care services, the cultural stigma surrounding mental health care, discrimination, and overall lack of awareness about mental health.” This month, we encourage you to learn how you can support BIPOC Mental Health. Whether you identify as a part of the BIPOC community or care for someone who is, Mental Health American provides us with Tips for Talking About Your Mental Illness; creating safe places for mental health conversations:

  1. Listen. Let the person finish their sentences and complete thoughts without interrupting. After they have finished, you can respond.
  2. Let them know if you understand. It helps a lot for someone to know they aren’t alone. Make sure you don’t switch the topic of conversation to your struggles, though; focus on their needs.
  3. Avoid being judgmental. Don’t tell the person they are being weird or crazy; it’s not helpful.
  4. Take them seriously. Try not to respond with statements that minimize their feelings or what they are going through, such as, “You’re just having a bad week,” or “I’m sure it’s nothing.”
  5. Make yourself available to talk again if needed. While it can be a big relief for someone to share something they have been keeping secret, mental health struggles usually aren’t solved with one conversation. It can be helpful to share resources on local mental health services. We are Excelsior Springs Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions, a program designed to meet the unique needs of individuals typically 65 and older, experiencing depression or anxiety related to life changes often associated with aging. If you want more information, education, or discuss support, please call 816-629-2629.
  6. Don’t turn what you’ve been told into gossip. If someone is talking to you about their mental health, it was probably tough for them to work up the nerve to say something in the first place, and you shouldn’t share what they tell you with other people. Let them share on their terms.
  7. Suppose you don’t understand, research, and learn about what you’ve been told. Ensure your information comes from reliable sources like government agencies and health organizations. If you want more information on mental health education, please call Excelsior Springs Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions at 816-629-2629.

This July, join us as we come together to discuss mental illness, and create safe places for BIPOC Mental Health conversations.