Addressing the mental health needs of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
Each July, National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month brings awareness to the unique struggles that racial and ethnic minority groups face regarding mental illness in the US. Unfortunately, members of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities and other minority groups often face disproportionate inequities in care, support, or mental health services in this country.
As a result, they are significantly more likely to develop mental health conditions. One of the significant barriers to mental health treatment is access and the need for understanding mental health support.
Traumas can impact communities as a collective and the individuals themselves and a major barrier to treatment around mental health is the lack of access and understanding of mental health support.
This BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month, we sat down with three mental health care advocates to discuss the struggles of their communities, the stigmas they still face and the changes they hope to see.
Ryan Mundy, the founder and CEO of Alkeme Health, founded the company after noticing that there weren't any health platforms that focused on the trajectory of Black health.
"They were never given permission to talk about it so it's kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy. It becomes a stigma because nobody has the language or the education or the space to talk about it."
Alkeme is a streaming platform that provides therapists, wellbeing courses, guided meditations, and livestream sessions centered around the Black experience.
"We're Black today, Black tomorrow. Black forever. And underneath that, there's a lot of different ways in which people show up as Black. I'm not here to segment or to say you are too Black or not Black enough. If you identify as Black, our aim is to have a space for you within the platform."
Artist Leo "Lowhi", mental health advocate from Asian Mental Health Project, discussed how he felt shame and guilt around feeling emotions from an early age.
"The fear of reaching out and having someone judge me for that, in my mind state at the time, that's worse than whatever pain that I'm going through."
Leo educates, empowers and advocates for mental health with the Asian Mental Health Project which provides resources to make mental healthcare more accessible. Join a community wellness group or sign up for Asian Men's Wellness Check-in today.
And Kathleen, who associates herself with both the Latinx and Middle Eastern Community, discusses how admitting that you need help and that you are not okay is actually the strongest decision you could ever make for yourself.
"It can be an uphill battle if you're surrounded by people who don't believe in mental health and they believe that whatever you're going through is just made up, that it's 'all in your head.' "