Our country is awakening to the long-term effects of racism and bigotry, including the negative impact on mental health. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), racial, sexual and religious minorities often face a unique range of mental health challenges that can be ignored or unknown by the population at large. NAMI included examples such as language barriers, providers who hold a level of stigma against minorities, and more.
July was established as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in 2008 by the US House of Representatives. Its goal is to increase public awareness of mental illness amongst minorities and to improve minority access to mental health services. Bebe Moore Campbell was an author, advocate, and co-founder of NAMI Urban Los Angeles. Her work was dedicated to ending the stigma around mental illness and providing different groups access to mental health resources. Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was created two years after she lost her life to cancer.
As an Indian American woman myself, I understand the importance of creating spaces and services tailored towards the mental health of different minorities. For example, sometimes the pressure to be successful and build a better life damages my self-confidence and motivation levels when I am not succeeding in an area.
I also interviewed Mastermind facilitator Veleisa Patton Burrell to understand her experience as a Black female practitioner and teacher of mindfulness. Veleisa shared, “It often feels like I’m having two different experiences, one as a Black woman and one as just Veleisa. I often cannot explain the overlap to someone who hasn’t experienced being a person of color, especially a Black person. Mindfulness helps relieve the mental challenge of feeling like I need to explain who I am and allows me to just embrace my identities.”
Because of her experience, Veleisa is passionate about creating safe spaces for People of Color. We are excited to share that she will be championing our monthly virtual meditation event: Holding Space: Mindful Meditation for Communities of Color.
In addition to Mastermind’s new monthly meditation class, we have compiled a list of mental health resources for different groups. It is important to acknowledge the need for mental health support for minorities, especially since minorities can face several barriers when receiving mental health care.
In honor of Minority Mental Health Awareness month, here are some mental health resources for different minority communities:
- Black and African American Communities – Black Emotional and Mental Health (BEAM) is a training, movement building, and grant making organization dedicated to the healing, wellness and liberation of Black and marginalized communities.
- Latinx/Hispanic Communities – Latinx Therapy is an organization working to break the stigma of mental health related to the Latinx community and teach self-help techniques.
- Asian American/Pacific Islander Communities – The Asian American and Pacific Islander Health Forum is focused on improving the health of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Its weekly digital community care package includes inspirational stories, tools for managing mental health, and resources in a variety of languages.
- Native and Indigenous Communities – WeRNative is a comprehensive health resource for Native youth by Native youth.
- LGBTQ+ Communities – The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention as well as other programs and services to LGBTQ young people.
We hope you find these resources helpful as you deepen your mindfulness practice and connect with your peers.
About the Author: Sonia Dhingra is a rising high school senior and an intern at Mastermind Meditation. She has spent the last two summers interning with the Stress Solutions team at the Brain Performance Institute (part of the UT Dallas Center for BrainHealth). In her free time, she enjoys practicing photography and piano.
Mastermind provides research-driven mindfulness and emotional intelligence learning for corporations, nonprofits and individuals across the U.S., including national brands like American Airlines, United Way, Peloton and FedEx. Mastermind’s science-based approach is designed to support mental wellbeing and build focus, awareness, compassion and connectivity that help us all build stronger, healthier lives and relationships.