July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Since 2008, July has been declared as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

Various minority groups, including ethnic minority and LGBTQ communities, disproportionately face inequities around mental health and substance use. One of the first steps to address such inequities is by raising awareness and educating ourselves and our community.

To do so you can do one or all of the following:

Learn how different minority groups and cultures are affected by mental health. Check out this infographic by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. You will learn compelling information such as the fact that “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Questioning (LGBTQ) youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth.”

• Pledge to fight against stigma around mental health. Many people with mental health conditions, particularly minorities, do not get the mental health care they need because they fear being judged by their family, friends and coworkers. You can pledge to fight stigma by participating in San Mateo County’s Be The One campaign.

• Participate in a Health Equity Initiative (HEI) to improve mental health services for underserved, unserved and inappropriately served cultural and ethnic communities. HEIs meets once a month to plan and implement activities that address minority mental health issues. HEIs include the African American Community Initiative, Chinese Health Initiative, Filipino Mental Health Initiative, Latino Collaborative, Native American Initiative, Pacific Islander Initiative , PRIDE Initiative and Spirituality Initiative.