As we rapidly approach the end of another news-filled month, I am reminded that many communities across our country continue to experience compounded trauma. Undoubtedly, communities of color need greater support structures and well-informed ecosystems that proactively allay fears to build trust between those seeking mental health or bereavement counseling and those who aim to provide such services.
In 2008, the United States formally recognized July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month with the intention of bringing awareness to the distinct struggles experienced by underrepresented communities. Emerging efforts aspire to address systemic barriers, socioeconomic inequalities, and historical adversities that decrease access to care and amplify poor mental health outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities. The COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened existing inequalities. Black Americans are 20 percent more likely to report having serious psychological distress than non-Hispanic whites. Additionally, minorities are less likely to have access to mental health services.1 Among young adults, Indigenous Americans have the highest suicide rate of any ethnicity. And Asian American adults are less likely to use mental health services than any other racial/ethnic group.2
These disparities exist for a variety for reasons. Eradicating the stigma around mental illness by encouraging an open dialogue on its impact in all communities has the potential to increase health equity. In addition, tackling health coverage inequality, language barriers, and building an increasingly culturally sensitive healthcare space will help ameliorate this issue. Furthermore, the healthcare community must commit to both elevating and listening to minority voices as we attempt to build a more inclusive environment.
At Capital Caring Health, we share these aspirations. It is paramount that the healthcare community remain sensitive to the life experiences of minority communities. Bebe Moore Campbell, a mental health advocate personally understood the needs of underserved communities and emphasized compassion and cultural humility in her work. As an organization, we too are dedicated to honoring the diversity of the communities we serve through the values laid out by Campbell. Capital Caring Health is confronting this issue head on. We at the Center for Health Equity are resolute in our mission to rectify existing inequalities in hospice care. We understand that healthcare equity must address the whole person, their family and the community. Capital Caring Health offers free grief support services to anyone grappling with loss. These services are available to everyone in our community who has experienced the death of a loved one, and we encourage those who are struggling to seek the help they deserve.
For more information on our Grief Support Services CLICK HERE
To learn more about Minority Mental Health Awareness month explore the resources below: