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July 13, 2020 | Devin Cook

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

The US House of Representatives announced July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in 2008. Bebe Moore Campbell, who passed in 2006, was an author, co-founder of NAMI Urban Los Angeles and national spokesperson, and advocate for mental health. 

Because many people of color often face more emotional hardships–be it poverty, incarceration, or police brutality–they are statistically more likely to experience depression than white people. Systemic racism is a major factor in mental illness for non-white communities. Unfortunately, mental health is not prioritized for many and people of color face less accessibility to therapy or other forms of mental health treatment. This is the motivation for Minority Mental Health Awareness Month–and as the nation faces a growing call for large, systemic change for racial equity, mental health cannot be forgotten. 

Many people of color, especially African Americans, are misdiagnosed or have their mental symptoms ignored in doctor or psychiatric visits. The socioeconomic barriers that prevent minorities from seeking mental health care, and the chance of them receiving mental health mistreatment or even a misdiagnosis, is much higher than those of white Americans. The profession itself of mental health providers is also mostly white, according to a study done in 2015. Representation matters, and the lack of diversity in the psychology workforce often contributes to the lack of quality in care for people of color. 

One silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic is increased access to teletherapy for mental health care, and some counseling centers are offering free therapy through online video chatting specifically to people of color, by people of color. 

The Boris Henson Foundation has compiled an online guide for resources for African Americans seeking mental health care.

Therapy For Black Girls is a great source for African American women seeking counseling from a fellow African American woman. 

The Safe Place is an app created for African Americans to help teach coping mechanisms and find mental health providers of color. 

For both Black and Latinx communities, Melanin and Mental Health is “committed to promoting the growth and healing of our communities through [their] website, online directory, and monthly events.”

Asian Mental Health Collective is a website featuring resources for Asian Americans seeking mental health care, helping connect people to therapists who represent them culturally. 

Therapy for Latinx is an online directory created for the Latinx community seeking counseling from a certified therapist within the Latinx community. 

Inclusive Therapists helps you seek reduced fee teletherapy and counseling specified for your mental health needs, letting you narrow down therapists by racial or ethnic identity, and sexual orientation.

At the library or available through our free ebook apps, we have books–from memoirs to self-help books–that can help you gain a better understanding, feel less isolated, or learn new coping mechanisms through the lens of someone who is non-white. Racial representation can make a huge difference from better care to learning tools that apply to living in our society as a person of color. 

Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb 

Black Girls Don’t Cry by Angelica Leigh and Karen Harris 

The Body Is Not An Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor 

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot

Inward by Yung Pueblo

The Likeability Trap by Alicia Menendez 

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae 

The More Or Less Definitive Guide to Self Care by Anna Borges 

Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jenkins

Tiger Babies Strike Back by Kim Wong Kelter 

For teens wanting books that center characters of color with mental illness:

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan

The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Don’t Call Me Crazy edited by Kelly Jensen

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez

Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now by Dana L. Davis 

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes 

Here are some titles for young children discussing mental health topics and identity, featuring characters of color or written by people of color.

Allergic To Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look

The Day Abuelo Got Lost by Diane De Anda

The Dream Bearer by Walter Dean Myers 

Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Anne Miranda and Ed Emberley  

Just Like Me by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Ruby Finds A Worry by Tom Percival 

I Am Enough by Grace Byers 

One of our duties as public librarians is to help everyone gain access to their basic needs–no matter their race, gender, sexuality or religion. We’re here to help in any way we can. You’re not alone.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call. Though we cannot use our public rooms should you need a space for a teletherapy appointment, internet access is available in our parking lot all hours of the day and we can troubleshoot any technical issues should they arise.

For our contact information and our temporary open hours, visit our page on reopening.