Lake County Behavioral Health Services recognizes July as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Awareness Month.
BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month was formally recognized in 2008, to bring awareness to the struggles underrepresented groups face surrounding mental illness. BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities face unique challenges and stressors that increase vulnerability to mental health conditions. Increasing awareness of issues people of color and those in marginalized communities manage helps reduce stigma, so those experiencing mental health concerns can get the help they need to thrive.
Each year, nearly one in five Americans experience some form of mental illness:
Anyone can experience challenges related to mental illness. Unfortunately, people in BIPOC communities are typically less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to seek help, and more likely to end services early if receiving treatment. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, these barriers are attributed to many factors, such as systemic racism and discrimination, cultural stigma around mental illness, and lack of health insurance.
“The effect of racial trauma on mental health is a reality, and we must not ignore it,” states Todd Metcalf, Director of Lake County Behavioral Health Services. He continues, “Racism is a public and behavioral health crisis. Our Department stands culturally competent and ready to assist BIPOC individuals in need of our programs and services.”
Lake County Behavioral Health Services suggests the following to help reduce the stigma of mental illness:
Encourage equality between mental and physical illness
Show compassion for those experiencing mental illness
Talk openly about mental health and discuss it no differently than physical health
Educate yourself and others by responding to negative comments or misperceptions by sharing experiences and facts
For more information, please contact Lake County Behavioral Health Services at 707-994-7090 or 707-274-9101 or visit Mental Health America’s website at https://www.mhanational.org/.