Only megachurch pastor and televangelist Creflo Dollar’s family knows the details surrounding the pastor’s alleged battery against his 15-year-old daughter last month. Though the details of the incident are unknown to the public, the story may inadvertently put some attention on an important issue.
July is Minority Mental Health Month (MMHM), which is part of a national advocacy effort to remove the stigma from mental health issues. The impact of family dynamics on present and future health remains.
Often mental health issues in communities of color persist from silence and stigmatization. There are issues of closet suffering. Then there are issues of access and systemic support.
In 2008 the U.S. House proclaimed July as MMHM in hopes of improving access to mental health treatment and services through increased public awareness.
Author Bebe Moore Campbell and her friend Linda Wharton-Boyd pushed for the month. The two outlined the idea and created the tagline, “Providing awareness, supporting families, and eliminating stigma.”
They presented the idea to the D.C. Department of Mental Health and then-mayor Anthony Williams. Campbell and Wharton-Boyd held book signings and addressed churches. They created a National Minority Mental Health Task Force.
After Moore died from cancer, Wharton-Boyd persisted. The taskforce earned support from Representatives Albert Wynn (D-MD) and Diane Watson (D-CA).
The Representatives co-signed legislation creating the month. Nearly one year after the bill was first introduced, the House passed it and declared July Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
The need for speaking out about abuse, hurt, and mental issues is consistently high. Research suggests that less than one-half of people with serious mental illness receive treatment.
The Office of Minority Health reported that African Americans are 20 percent more likely to report having“serious psychological distress” than Non-Hispanic Whites.
Cultural adaptation of “no snitching” for a myriad trespasses could contribute to overwhelming silence.
Psychological distress includes a variety of conditions, but depression is major one. Main causes of depression include conflict, medications, and various abuses- sexual, substance and/or physical.