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Working Towards Health Equity:  National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

  • June 22, 2022

In 2005, Bebe Moore Campbell and longtime friend Linda Wharton Boyd, Ph.D., suggested dedicating a month that would educate and address mental health stigma and improve mental health services for people of color. Due to their hard work and dedication and with the help of Representatives Albert Wynn and Diane Watson, a resolution was adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives in May 2008 to establish July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (after Campbell passed in 2006). In honor of Campbell, a mental health advocate and award-winning author, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) celebrates each July with a series of events focused on mental health equity through education and action.

Moore Equity in Mental Health 5k logo

Last year, the APA hosted the first Moore Equity in Mental Health 5K to educate and bring more awareness to mental health inequities. In partnership with the APA Foundation, the 5K is also a fundraising event that raises money to support organizations under the MOORE Equity in Mental Health Community Grants Program. The proceeds from the 2021 5K were granted to five organizations under the grant program providing each recipient with up to $10,000 over two years to support efforts focused on improving mental health for youth of color.

“It was so amazing to have participation from people in the U.S.A. and four other continents; but what made this inaugural event more rewarding was knowing that everyone’s efforts will be translated into support for mental health programs that work directly with young people of color to address mental illness and substance use disorders,” said Regina James, M.D., APA’s Deputy Medical Director and Chief of Diversity and Health Equity.

Register for our second annual 5K Run, Walk & Roll taking place on July 9. (at Anacostia Park, D.C., or virtually) to support this important work!

In addition to the 5K, APA’s Division of Diversity and Health Equity will be hosting several events focused on education, outreach and advocacy.

Virtual Conversation with Dominique Dawes

On July 1, the APA will host a virtual conversation with Olympic Gold Medalist Dominique Dawes. Affectionately known as ‘Awesome Dawesome,’ Dawes was the first African American woman to win an individual Olympic medal in artistic gymnastics and is currently a gym owner and avid mental wellness advocate. This educational roundtable will give attendees the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the mental health issues in athletes and the importance of advocacy. (Register for the Dawes conversation here.)

Virtual Event: Today’s Advocacy, Paving a Path for Brighter Future

To take education into action, APA will also be hosting a virtual event on Today’s Advocacy, Paving a Path for Brighter Future on July 14. (Register for the advocacy event here.) Mandar Jadhav, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist and APAF Jeanne Spurlock Congressional Fellow, Linda Wharton Boyd, Ph.D., with the District of Columbia’s DC Health Link, and Kathy Orellana, senior regional director with APA State Government Relations, will share information on becoming a mental health advocate. They will cover a range of topics from understanding local, state, and federal policies to the importance of voting and testifying. You will leave this session with some clear steps on how each of us can be a changemaker in our own communities.

Mental Health Community Fair

For those based in Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas, APA will host its first Mental Health Community Fair on July 23 to provide community members with general mental health information and resources, as well as connect individuals with local mental health services. Join us between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Howard University Hospital to connect with local D.C. mental health professionals and organizations.

Virtual Roundtable Conversation: Community-Based Mental Health Programs for Youth of Color

To learn more about the impact of funds raised at the annual 5K, the APA will host a virtual roundtable event on July 28 with three of last year’s grant recipients. Representatives of the Kellin Foundation, CrearConSalud, and Drake University will discuss their work in community-based mental health focused on youth of color. (Register for the roundtable here.)

“The APA Foundation is honored to support the efforts of these trailblazing organizations and their innovative projects as they work to get the word out on mental health in communities that have been traditionally unserved or underserved,” said APAF Executive Director Rawle Andrews, Esq. "These grantees will make a tangible difference in countless young peoples’ lives.”

APA is dedicated to continuing Bebe Moore Campbell’s important work in minority mental health by increasing access to education, creating opportunities for advocacy, and connecting community members with culturally competent mental health services. This July, we invite you to join us in the work of promoting mental health equity and become part of the change!

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