By Katilyn Thomas
What Is BIPOC Mental Health Month?
July Is Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, also known as BIPOC Mental Health Month. The observance aims to bring attention to the mental health disparities faced by minority populations, including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities (Mental Health America, 2023).
The initiative was first established in 2008 by the U.S. House of Representatives to raise awareness about the unique challenges and barriers that minority communities encounter when seeking mental health support. It also emphasizes the importance of culturally competent mental health care, eliminating stigma, and promoting understanding and empathy for those experiencing mental health issues.
The theme of the 2023 BIPOC Mental Health Month is Culture, Community, & Connection. Our lives are deeply intertwined with our environments, and these surroundings impact our mental health and overall wellness. Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) populations are faced with disproportionate amounts of historical trauma and displacement that can challenge their ability to thrive in their environments. However, culture, community, and connection are pillars that support and uplift BIPOC individuals in the face of oppression and systemic racism (Mental Health America, 2023).
Here are some ideas to help you celebrate and educate your children about BIPOC Mental Health Month:
- Cultivate Open Communication: Encourage open and honest conversations within the family. Create a safe space where family members can express their feelings, concerns, and experiences without judgment.
- Practice Self-Care Together: Incorporate self-care practices into family routines. Engage in activities that promote relaxation, stress reduction, and self-compassion. This could include meditation, yoga, or spending quality time together. Show your kids that it’s okay to seek help when needed.
- Address Generational Trauma: Acknowledge and discuss historical and generational trauma within the family. Understanding the impact of past experiences can aid in healing and breaking negative patterns.
- Educational Activities: Engage in age-appropriate discussions about mental health, emotions, and the importance of well-being. Use books, videos, and resources that highlight mental health in diverse communities.
- Art and Expression: Encourage your kids to express their emotions and experiences through art, writing, or storytelling. This can help them process feelings and understand their own mental health better.
- Mindfulness and Meditation: Practice mindfulness and meditation together as a family. Teach your kids relaxation techniques to manage stress and emotions positively.
- Practice Gratitude: Cultivate a habit of expressing gratitude. Encourage your kids to share what they are thankful for and focus on the positive aspects of life.
Remember that the key is to approach these activities with an open heart and a willingness to learn. By celebrating BIPOC Mental Health Month with your kids, you not only support their growth but also foster a more compassionate and inclusive family environment. If you or someone in your family is struggling with mental health issues, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from qualified mental health practitioners.
A Word From WIN
The mental health disparities experienced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities are significant, often influenced by historical trauma, systemic racism, and cultural stigma. It is essential that we, as a community, stand together to break down these barriers and promote mental well-being for everyone.
Mental Health America (2023). BIPOC Mental Health Month. https://www.mhanational.org/bipoc/mental-health-month