BIPOC Mental Health Month 2021
July is Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Month, which raises awareness of mental health resources for and challenges experienced by BIPOC and QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous People of Color). This year, the Mental Health America (MHA) is highlighting alternative mental health supports created by and for BIPOC and QTBIPOC communities of color. These community-developed systems of support fill in gaps within traditional systems that may overlook cultural and historical factors that impede BIPOC and QTBIPOC mental health. Examples include:
- Community care: ways in which communities of color have provided support to each other, such as mutual aid, peer support, and healing circles. View or download a handout from MHA to learn more.
- Self-directed care: innovative practices that emphasize that people with mental health and substance use conditions, or their representatives if applicable, have decision-making authority over services they receive. View or download a handout from MHA to learn more.
- Culturally-based practices: practices that are embedded in cultures and are passed down through generations. They naturally provide resiliency and healing. View or download a handout from MHA to learn more.
While mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender or identity, these factors can make access to mental health treatment much more difficult. BIPOC are less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for their mental illnesses, have less access to and availability of mental health services, and often receive a poorer quality of mental health care.
And, while chronic stress can have negative effects on everyone, pervasive exposure to racism and discrimination create additional daily stressors for BIPOC. The impact of racism-related events, chronic stress caused by institutional and socio-political inequities, and daily exposure to racism through micro-aggressions is significantly associated with higher risk factors related to poorer mental and physical health, depression and substance misuse.
Below are some ways to spread the word through awareness, support and advocacy.
Access and Share Resources
Mental Health Resources
This page contains multicultural mental health resources, resources for the LGBTQ community, resources for immigrants and more.
Based Trauma Resources
This collection contains a growing list of resources related to coping with racism and trauma on individual, interpersonal/family, community and national/global levels.
- MHA Mental Health Resources for BIPOC
To promote and be effective in addressing mental health for all, MHA uses a racial equity and intersectional lens to highlight, better understand, and effectively respond to the range of experiences held by individuals and families with diverse values, beliefs, and sexual orientations, in addition to backgrounds that vary by race, ethnicity, religion, and language.
Listen to a Story
- In the Strength Over Silence series, NAMI highlights perspectives on mental health across backgrounds and communities. Through candid and courageous stories of lived experience, these mental health champions share their resilience and recovery, emphasizing the importance of culture and identity in the mental health movement.
Read a Story
- On NAMI’s Personal Stories web page, you can read Using My Voice to Spread Awareness in the Black Community and 10 Reasons Why I Talk About My Mental Health. Read these and more.
- Download--and use--MHA’s BIPOC Mental Health Month Toolkit. It contains lists of resources specifically for BIPOC and QTBIPOC communities, handouts, social media content and more.
- Give a presentation using NAMI’s Sharing Hope and Compartiendo Esperanza materials. Sharing Hope is an hour long presentation that can help increase mental health awareness in African American communities. Compartiendo Esperanza is a bilingual 90-minute presentation that can help increase mental health awareness in Latino communities.
- Learn more about racism and mental health from an MHA infographic.
- Learn about the challenges that LGBTQ+ communities face.
- Learn more about the disparities and disproportionalities that vulnerable populations face through
mental and behavioral health data for specific populations provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.
DCHS has collected information and resources dedicated to Multicultural Mental Health. Learn more about the challenges of and resources for BIPOC and people in LGBTQ+ communities below.
Chronic stress can have negative side effects on everyone. Psycho-social factors, specifically, pervasive exposure to racism and discrimination, create an additional daily stressor for people of color. Research shows this to be particularly true for African-Americans (APA, 2016). The Race Based Trauma Resources and Support in Times of Civil Strife web page contains a continually growing collection of resources for and information related to coping with racism and trauma on individual, interpersonal and family, community and national and global levels.
Multicultural Mental Health Resources
- Teaching Tolerance
- American Psychological Association: Immigration
- Mental Health America: Latino/Hispanic Communities and Mental Health
- Mental Health America: Asian American/Pacific Islander Communities and Mental Health
- NAMI Latino Multicultural Action Center
- City of Alexandria 24-Hour Crisis Lines
- PRS CrisisLink - 24/7 crisis intervention, suicide prevention and support to foster self-sufficiency by providing problem-solving skills and information on community resources so callers can better cope with emotional trauma, personal and family crises. Text "CONNECT" to 855-11 or call 703.527.4077.
- Learn to Recognize Signs of Distress in Youth
Spanish Language Materials
- Asuntos Riesgosos: Adicción a internet
- Asuntos Riesgosos: Sexo
- Asuntos Riesgosos: Uso Indebido de Medicamentos Recetados
- Asuntos Riesgosos: Ejercicio
- 31 Formas De Trabajar en su Bienestar
- Other Resources for Spanish-language speakers
From the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services
Although there have been great strides in the legal and civil rights of individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning, the LGBTQ population continue to experience worse health outcomes than their heterosexual counterparts. Due to factors like low rates of health insurance coverage, high rates of stress due to systematic harassment and discrimination, and a lack of cultural competency in the health care system, LGBT people are at a higher risk for cancer, mental illnesses, and other diseases, and are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, use drugs, and engage in other risky behaviors.
Find out more:
- Do Ask, Do Tell! Collecting Data on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
- How to close the disparities gap for LGBT communities
- Mental Health America - LGBT
- NAMI - LGBT - Finding Support
- Mental Health America: Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Communities and Mental Health
- Youth LGBTQ Resources at the Suicide Prevention Alliance of Northern Virginia Website
Does Mental Health Affect My Community?
Resources for Immigrants
The DCHS Cultural and Linguistic Competence Committee hosts periodic Lunch and Learns to help promote an organizational culture that provides culturally and linguistically appropriate supports and services to Alexandrians. In October 2016, the committee hosted a two-hour presentation exploring resources for immigrants in Northern Virginia and Alexandria in particular and moderated a panel of representatives from regional organizations who provide services to immigrant and refugee populations in NOVA. Follow this link for a collection of resources for immigrants and refugees and information about organizations serving those populations presented during the event.
Also, learn about resources and support for immigrants and refugees offered by the City of Alexandria and community partners.
This is Recovery
“This is Recovery” is a 14 minute video featuring men and women across Northern Virginia who share their stories of recovery to help others who are dealing with similar challenges. They enable and inspire all of us to live in hope. This video was funded by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services and produced by members of the Virginia Recovery Initiative Region 2. Learn more about the video and City of Alexandria programs and services related to recovery.