National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month - NAMI - Greater Des Moines
National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month - NAMI - Greater Des Moines
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National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

10 Years Ago a Movement Began. . .

Inspired by Bebe Moore Campbell's charge to eliminate stigma and provide mental health information, long time friend Linda Wharton-Boyd suggested dedicating a month to the effort.  Their work would eventually be recognized by Congress.  

In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives designated July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in honor of the leading African American novelist and journalist, who also was a voice for individuals and families affected by mental Illness. She died in 2006. 


Challenging Multicultural Disparities In Mental Health
Many people are unable to attain their highest level of mental wellness for several reasons, and the culture of mental health is just one barrier. Understanding why cultural disparities exist and persist in the mental health field is difficult because the issue is complex. Here is some of what we do know on the topic.
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Personal Essays on Minority Mental Health

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NAMI AIR

You Can't "Pray Away" A Mental Health Condition
"With all that my culture had to deal with throughout history, present-day African-Americans feel we don't need help mentally. All we need to do today is the same our ancestors did, which is: 'Pray about it. Give it to God.' But you wouldn't tell someone with cancer, diabetes or heart problem to just pray about it or give it to God, would you?"
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NAMI AIR

Breaking Tradition with NAMI Ambassador AJ Mendez
"I was raised in a rowdy Puerto Rican family. We spoke our minds about anything and everything under the sun. If we had an opinion, we had it at the top of our lungs. We took pride in our strong emotions. But pain was the exception to the rule. Pain was something you kept quietly under wraps."
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I Remember When Worry Was A Friend
"Stigma around mental illness and therapy is deeply rooted in my culture. It's seen as a weakness or a 'made up' ailment and going to therapy is a luxury reserved for those of white privilege. But by the time I reached adulthood, I realized I had to do something."
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NAMI AIR

There Is No Shame: The Power To End Mental Health Stigma Begins With Me
"Becoming a mental health advocate and motivational speaker was not an easy journey, especially with the mental illness stigma being so strong in my community, but I defied cultural traditions, faced community stigma and became stronger for it. And so can you."
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The following sources have information on: 

  • demographics/societal issues
  • prevalence
  • attitude 
  • treatment issues
  • access/insurance issues
  • educational issues

Black and African American Communities and Mental Health

Latino and Hispanic Communities and Mental Health

Asian American/Pacific Islander Communities and Mental Health

Native American Communities and Mental Health


Native American mental health
The National Center for American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research,  
Indian Health Service Division of Behavioral Health

Hispanic mental health
National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health
The National Latino Behavioral Health Association 

African American mental health
National Leadership Council on African American Behavioral Health
Black Mental Health Alliance for Education and Consultation, Inc.

Asian American mental health
National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association

LGBTQ mental health
The Trevor Project


National Partnerships have been entered into by NAMI and two African American women's sororities - AKA and Jack and Jill
More information can be found on the AKA partnership here.
More information can be found on the Jack and Jill partnership here.

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