Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental health conditions and substance use do not discriminate based on anyone’s background. People of any race, color, gender, or identity can experience mental illness or substance use disorders. However, minority communities are disproportionately affected, and getting access to treatment is more difficult. These communities also experience different levels of care due to discrimination and illicit bias.
National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was created in 2008 to start changing this.
The Mental Health & Recovery Services Board of Allen, Auglaize, and Hardin Counties is committed to taking action to help achieve equity in care for everyone and continuing conversations with our minority communities.
The Mental Health & Recovery Services Board of Allen, Auglaize, and Hardin Counties hired a minority consultant. Our consultant has facilitated community conversations, evaluations, and made recommendations for both contract agencies and the practices of the Board to improve health equity for behavioral health services for our underserved populations.
The consultant is creating a strategic plan which is a living document that changes as we learn more so that we can effectively reach our minority populations who are struggling with mental health and substance use disorders and learn ways to engage those individuals in to treatment.
The consultant also developed the Mental Health Ambassadors program.
The Mental Health Ambassadors are representatives from within minority groups who help their community be healthier through education, fellowship, and growing trust between mental health agencies and communities. The program is currently for African American salon owners, barbers, and small business owners. The Ambassadors are able to connect their customers with the right mental health resources and share the ways we’re working towards a healthier community for all groups of people.
A key component of this program is to make educational opportunities, like Mental Health First Aid, available to provide tools to support their customers and communities on how to receive help. The Ambassadors recently hosted the first all People of Color Mental Health First Aid training!
The MHRSB has funded outreach services so our agencies, like Coleman Professionals, have individuals out in neighborhoods and churches encouraging people to get the help they need.
We have a partnership with a local Minority Health Ministry Program. This partnership ensures all health events focused on minority groups include mental health and substance use resources. This helps those attendees know where they can go get treatment if they need to.
Our prevention agency, PASS, hosted several community conversations through a grant. The focus was to fellowship diverse groups and hear their concerns. They continue to engage with those who participated and are currently planning a follow-up event.
Mental Health Treatment Barriers for Minorities
Cultural competence is the behaviors, attitudes, and skills that allow a health care provider to work effectively with different cultural groups. Finding Mental Health care that fits your cultural background is key to experiencing culturally competent care. Click here to learn more.
The word “trauma” often brings up ideas of a frightening event or horrible disaster occurring to someone. Exposure to war and violence, accidents, sexual assault, and natural disasters are events that can traumatize people. These events alter the way they live. But trauma can go beyond that. It is any deeply distressing or disturbing experience.
Those who identify as BIPOC—especially queer and trans people—can recall actions, words, and events that have made a deep impact on the way they live, speak and think.
Racial trauma is the total effect of racism on someone's mental and physical health. Learn more about race-based traumatic stress (RBTS) here.
Consider including mental health care in your healing journey.
For help finding local resources or if you are in crisis due to the current racial tensions in our nation, call the HOPEline at:
Find Help on Your Terms
Taking a screening is an easy way to check in on your mental health. This can help guide you in finding the help you may need with which you are comfortable.
Take your free, anonymous screening here.
Schedule or maintain telehealth appointments with a licensed behavioral health clinician.
This Essence article, "How to Find a Black Therapist", will help you navigate the process of finding a black therapist. It also has great tips for anyone looking for a therapist from a specific cultural background.
From online Telehealth appointments to virtual support groups and secure apps on your phone, online support is only one click away for minorities.
Ayana Online Mental Health Therapy for Marginalized & Intersectional Communities
The Safe Place is a free mental health app for the Black Community.
Talk Space provides easy access to therapists.
BetterHelp is an e-counseling platform that offers 1 month of free therapy through this link. They offer counselors for all minority groups.
Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is offering 5 free sessions to Black Americans in light of COVID-19.
The National American Indian and Alaska Native MHTTC hosts weekly virtual events.
Pride Counseling specializes in online counseling for the LBGTQ community.
QTIBIPoC Healing Space is a private Facebook group for queer, trans and intersex Black, Indigenous & persons of color.
Know the warning signs of suicide to support others and seek help for yourself. BIPOC and LBGTQ+ persons are at different, often higher risk than white, heteronormative persons. Learn more about suicide and find local resources on our website at wecarepeople.org.
If you are having thoughts of suicide or are worried about someone having suicidal thoughts, don’t wait. Call or text now.
24/7 HOPEline: 1-800-567-4673
Crisis Text Line: 741 741
Lets Talk: About Youth, Racism, and Mental Health
Let’s Talk is the MHRSB initiative to help parents or guardians talk to their children about substances, suicide, and their strengths. Talking to your children about racism, regardless of their race, is crucial to their mental health during these times.
How to Talk About Racial Violence
1. Don’t avoid talking about it. Not bringing up racial violence doesn’t protect your kids. It places the conversation in the hands of others.
2. All kids, not just minorities, need to talk. All kids need to learn to practice empathy and not judge. Getting out of their own worlds or comfort zones now will help them as adults.
3. It’s OK to not have the answers. Parents will never have all the answers. Vulnerability can lead to more trust and create an open dialogue. This is more important than shutting down discussions due to not knowing.
4. Ask open-ended questions. Do more listening than talking to really connect. “How are you feeling about what you’re seeing in the news? What are your friends saying? What bothers you the most?”
5. Notice changes in behavior. Kids and teens often say "they’re fine”. Pay attention to their behaviors to see how they are really handling the stress of racial violence in the world. Watch for changes in how they behave. Are they isolating? Acting out? Seem stressed?
6. Turn to art. Encouraging kids to express themselves helps them process and can lead to healing. Paint, dance, listen or play music, and more. Give them the freedom to explore their emotions.
7. Educate yourself about the issues, including social justice. This will help you talk about issues with your children. It’ll also make you more comfortable during those discussions. Don’t know the difference between equality and equity? Start with Google and go from there!
8. Don’t do it alone. Racism is a tough topic. Other parents are navigating the same conversations and fears. Seek out other moms and dads. Ask them how they’re handling it. Find ways to support each other.
Support your child’s emotional and mental health. Listen carefully to youth in your life. Validate their experiences and feelings.
They may need professional help, especially when racial trauma or prolonged bullying because of their identity leads to serious traumatic stress. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) recommends seeking help from a mental health clinician if serious problems persist longer than six weeks.
This free online activity book is geared toward African American families and communities.
It describes ways to help children cope with crisis and describes activities that can help children to handle their emotions and to communicate using their creativity.
More Youth Resources
Anti-Racism For Kids 101: Starting To Talk About Race - Article and Resources
How White Parents Can Talk To Their Kids About Race - Audio Podcast
Racism and Violence: How to Help Kids Handle the News - Facebook Video
Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup - Article
Resources for Minority Communities
The Mental Health & Recovery Services Board of Allen, Auglaize, and Hardin Counties is confident in partner agencies to provide services to all who receive care.
Please seek treatment if you are experiencing a mental illness or substance use disorder. We encourage you to try local resources and any other resources you may prefer. Find local resources at wecarepeople.org.
The same barriers to treatment for mental health in minorities also exist for substance use. Learn more about substance use for different minority communities at SAMHSA.
Healing & Resiliency
Understanding racial and social trauma, internalized oppression, and your own painful experiences are a part of healing. The next step is to actively pursue healing and build resilience to confront ongoing discrimination.
Healing often includes growing your tool kit to work through the process. Another important part is sharing what has happened to you and how it made you feel. Do this with a therapist or counselor, in a journal, or with other safe people. Check out these resources as a starting point.
Healing from the Effects of Internalized Oppression
Surviving Oppression; Healing Oppression
This Is What Black Burnout Feels Like
Grief is a direct impact of racism: Eight ways to support yourself
If you are in crisis call 1-800-567-HOPE (4673) or text 741 741.