Decreasing the stigma around mental illness has been a top concern of mental health advocates and providers in recent years. It has been observed that people who suffer from mental illness are unlikely to seek treatment due to feelings embarrassment or shame. In addition to that, it has also been determined that those who identify as members of an ethnic or racial minority seek treatment even less than those who identify as white or Caucasian. Dedicated to the efforts of Bebe Moore Campbell, July is established as Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. The goal of the month-long awareness campaign is to promote advocacy for those who suffer from mental illness, and to encourage the use of mental health services for members of minorities.
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness is a mental health organization that is committed to decrease the negative stigma that is associated with mental illness, and encourage those who are struggling with a mental illness to seek treatment, no matter what their ethnic identity or community membership. On the organization’s website, they state, “All communities face unique challenges or barriers in addressing mental health issues. Taking on the challenges of mental health conditions, health coverage and the stigma of mental illness affects all of us. In many communities, however, these problems are increased by less access to care, cultural stigma and lower quality care”.
Other year-round campaigns such as Project 375 and Project UROK were also formed to help eradicate the negative associations with mental illness, and are actively encouraging people of all diverse populations and ages to seek treatment for their struggles. Mental Illness is nothing to be ashamed about, and seeking treatment can be empowering and result in healthy lifestyle changes that can improve the quality of life.