This July, as we observe the 13th Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, we call attention to the health disparities that affect communities of color. They include (but are not limited to) the impacts of COVID-19 on physical and mental health; rising suicide rates among Black youth; and spikes in depression and anxiety among people of color amid the unrest and demonstrations that have followed the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others. The ability of the health care system to effectively respond is hampered by the shortage of mental health providers and the lack of diverse providers to serve the various communities of color.

“Compared with the majority population, members of racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. are less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to use community mental health services, more likely to use inpatient hospitalization and emergency rooms, and more likely to receive lower quality care.” National Institute of Mental Health Minority Health and Health Disparities Program

In these troubling times, we at Families for Depression Awareness reaffirm our commitment to serve diverse communities. In our trainings, for example, we underscore that mood disorders affect people from all walks of life; they do not discriminate on the basis of race, economic status, etc. Our core goals — to equip family members to recognize depression and bipolar disorder, support their loved ones in getting care to get well and prevent suicides, and eliminate the stigma that constitutes a barrier to treatment — apply to people across race and ethnic identities, though our messaging and delivery methods may vary.

We appreciate the families that have shared their stories with us in order to benefit others who may be struggling to help a loved one or who need hope.

  • Fonda and her son Wesley recently appeared in a video about their experience dealing with mental health crisis and treatment as an African American family.
  • Catava shared her story of living with bipolar disorder while not having health insurance.
  • Monica and her mother, Maria, talked with us about their challenges with depression and its impact on memory and organization; the videos are on our More Than Mood page.
  • Shana, Richard, Lisa, Lyn, Terrie, and Vivian provided messages of hope through their Family Stories.
  • Armando Rodriguez, M.D., provided insight on stigma among Latino communities in both English and Spanish.
  • Christine Crawford, M.D., and Mala Rafik, Esq., joined us for our Facebook Live event about insurance and depression treatment.

We encourage you to learn more about how mental health is perceived and addressed among diverse communities. To that end, we’ve provided a variety of resources below. We welcome your input and participation as we continue our work to help people get well and to prevent suicides.

Realities for People of Color

“Compared with the majority population, members of racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. are less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to use community mental health services, more likely to use inpatient hospitalization and emergency rooms, and more likely to receive lower quality care.” National Institute of Mental Health Minority Health and Health Disparities Program

To contribute your personal or family experience, please submit your story.

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Sources and Resources for this Article

COVID-19
Black Youth Suicide
Depression and Anxiety

Select readings and resources

Posts on our Care for Your Mind Site
Government Resources
Additional Resources