July is , 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.
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
Listen to a Story
Read a Story
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 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.
- 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.
- Mental Health First Aid Training
- 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