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 and encourages those experiencing mental health concerns to get the help they need to thrive.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that each year, nearly one in five Americans experience some form of mental illness.
Anyone can experience challenges related to mental illness.
Health officials report that 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.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that these barriers are attributed to many factors, such as systemic racism and discrimination, negative cultural beliefs 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,” said Todd Metcalf, director of Lake County Behavioral Health Services.
“Racism is a public and behavioral health crisis,” said Metcalf. “Our department stands culturally competent and ready to assist BIPOC individuals in need of our programs and services.”
Lake County Behavioral Health Services suggests to improve mental health outcomes for community members:
• 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.